In defence of Multi-channel mixes

Discussion in 'Music' started by PaulDA, Jun 1, 2005.

  1. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    2,699
    Likes Received:
    97
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    St. Hubert, Quebec, Canada
    Real Name:
    Paul
    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 Of course, as an historian, my fascination for things considered out of date (like mono vs stereo) is probably not shared by the majority of gadget-geeks (which I also am).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. [​IMG]
     
  2. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2001
    Messages:
    6,021
    Likes Received:
    40
    Trophy Points:
    6,610
    Location:
    The BK
    Real Name:
    ManW
    Hi, Paul.

    You've made some good points. And I'm not one to hate anything out of hand. [​IMG] But I think MCH has some inherent problems that make it more diffiult to win over audiophiles than stereo did -- I'm not talking about the average Joe here.

    Put it succinctly, I'd say stereo hits the sweet spot for most people well enough that MCH becomes the victim of the law of diminishing returns.

    1. I agree that we are already so very comfortable w/ stereo and MCH still requires a big paradigm shift that stereo did not really require (from mono). But that paradigm shift is not just for the listener, but also for the music makers, recording engineers, mixers, etc., and I'm not nearly as convinced as you are that the music producers have actually made that shift yet. There may be the "appearance" of making a shift, but real paradigm shifts can take a lot of time and work -- and still may never truly happen for many people steeped in the old ways.

    2. There is just too much good music that already exists that don't really need MCH. I mean while your point about MCH possibly providing a better, alternative experience is a good one, it won't necessarily win anyone over because then you're just talking about a choice, a matter of preference, not of something remotely close to an objective, undeniable truth, which is significant for people who actually care about audio fidelity. Not everyone cares to be listening to music in the middle of the stage like he/she's part of the band/ensemble. Certainly, there's no reason to think such mixes can completely replace traditional stereo mixes.

    3. Even if you want to recreate the experience of being on stage itself, you won't likely get that from MCH mixes for the forseeable future. IMHO, there's just no realistic chance to faithfully do it -- that is if there's really such a thing anyway (as you seem to point out for studio recordings). As I mentioned in #2, audio fidelity is important. If there's no such thing as fidelity (or the appearance of fidelity) to a certain experience (whether it's "faked" in the studio or not), then what's the point? Afterall, that's really what drives most audiophiles, no?

    And if it's just about the "music", not audio fidelity, then why do we need MCH? Is stereo not just as "musical" as MCH, except where the musician truly requires MCH to make the music work -- and how often would that be? At least w/ mono vs stereo, we know we hear in stereo (w/ 2 ears), and there's clear benefit there. But w/ stereo vs MCH, the benefit is not nearly so clear, except in certain cases.

    4. IMHO, it's just too difficult to reap the full potential of MCH in practice. First, it's more difficult to make the proper recording and mixes for a truly great MCH mix -- or so I would assume. Second, it's even that much more difficult to have a playback setup that does justice to such MCH mixes. Consider for a moment how difficult it already is to handle playback in stereo faithfully. Now you throw in MCH. I haven't done any real analysis of the problem, but I'd think the problem is likely exponential based on number of channels involved -- and if all you want is truer recreation of the ambient sound of a live performance and the usual concerns of soundstage, etc., well, the returns are probably logarithmic in order.

    Remember, there is still enough quality differences across the frequency response range to distinguish the vast arrays of speakers available today -- not to mention anything about the electronics and room acoustics. And unless money is no object for you, you may still need to choose your speakers knowing that you'll compromise significantly on certain aspects of the playback even in stereo -- and that's assuming you'll have everything properly set up in a proper space and using good electronics.

    If you don't have any of these things, which is the case for the average Joe, then there's not much chance you'll ever benefit much, if at all, from MCH. For the average Joe, just running their HT-in-a-box in some sort of fake surround mode will probably do well enough. OR worse yet, he might actually push for the gimmicky stuff that you don't want. [​IMG]

    _Man_
     
  3. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2000
    Messages:
    5,712
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Short story: when SACD and DVD-A were just coming down the pike, I was anti-MC bigtime. I only cared about high resolution stereo mixes. (I grew up in the '70's, and had about 1500 lps before I started swapping them for CDs. Still have about 500 left.) Give me Stereo or give me Death! [​IMG]

    So then I got the Dark Side of the Moon SACD. My opinion changed 100%. First off, I did some critical listening between the stereo versions of some DVD-A's and SACDs and CD. Not a big difference. But the MC mix of DSOTM just blew me away. My current conclusion? When an MC mix is done well, there is no doubt in my mind it will improve on the 2 ch mix. The biggest thing I discovered with the best MC mixes, is that the "clarity" of the recording is much improved. Here's what I mean by "clarity": in a 2 ch mix, all of the information is simply divied up between L & R. But in an MC mix, that info is divided up between 5 speaker channels. So the information per channel (or, density) is lower, which to me, makes it a heck of a lot easier to hear lower level detail in the music. I was frankly surprised by this. But that's what I hear from good MC mixes. You can hear "deeper" into the recording.

    My final tidbit is that people are 3-D creatures. Stereo is absolutely not 3-D the way a good 5.1 setup can be. Sure, you can talk about "depth", soundstage, etc, in a stereo recording. They are there. But compared to a good MC mix, stereo is like comparing a black and white TV to color.

    I am just sad that overall in America (the world?), that music itself is just not the focus that it once was. Video games, DVD-V, HDTV, MP3, the internet, etc, all take away from any penetration that good MC music could have had. SACD and DVD-A have gone nowhere. DualDisc? Who knows. High res HD-DVD or BluRay as applied to music only releases? Who knows. But I have my doubts...
     
  4. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    2,699
    Likes Received:
    97
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    St. Hubert, Quebec, Canada
    Real Name:
    Paul


    You're absolutely right. In the real world, compromise is the name of the game. But, again, if a surround array gives a more realistic movie experience, there's no reason it shouldn't do the same for music. "In the band" mixes certainly benefit from the ITU array. Ambient mixes add a level of spatial enhancement that, in two channel, would require a far more tedious setup AND far better speakers. The stereo pair might offer better detail (and the matching quality in MCH would be a larger expense) but the spaciousness is easier to discern than the detail and so gives a larger improvement to more people.

    I don't want to eliminate stereo. In fact, I don't use "artificial" surround processing on my two channel music. But I do think discrete MCH, done right, can represent the same level of improvement in sonic quality that stereo represented over mono. And, in an ideal world, the hi-res formats can (and already do) offer us the choice. As a fan of MCH music, especially in hi-res, I just don't want to see that choice disappear.
     
  5. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2001
    Messages:
    6,021
    Likes Received:
    40
    Trophy Points:
    6,610
    Location:
    The BK
    Real Name:
    ManW
    Honestly, I should probably have qualified in my post that I'm mostly interested in acoustic music, not so much the other stuff that would benefit more from "in the band" mixes.

    And I remain unconvinced that MCH can really be that much better than stereo for ambient mixes in practice. Think about it. You're talking about using discrete multi-channels to create ambient sound to go w/ the performance in front of you. For that to be truly high fidelity, that's gotta be very difficult to do right (from recording all the way to playback).

    I too have DSOTM SACD (and also Roxy Music's Avalon too among others), but have not listened to the MCH mix because my setup is just not remotely proper for it. No doubt, DSOTM (and many others like it) will knock the socks off of very many people, but that's really besides the point if we're talking about audio fidelity. In a sense, it's really not much different than the average Joe playing twisters w/ their boomboxes' EQ/tone controls, except it's done by the music producers. And there are still plenty of folks who are convinced that Bose makes great speaker systems too or that the Star Wars prequels look great, etc. etc. [​IMG] I know that's a low blow, but in the pure sense of speaking theoretically (as the original post seemed to be appealing toward), is it really all *that* different?

    And no, I'm not a true purist either. And I can understand that surround sound doesn't seem to require as much fidelity (at the individual channels) to be convincing as evidenced by home theater surround sound for movies, which actually use highly lossy compression formats. OTOH, the point of using movie soundtrack is a weak one because there is really not much fidelity (or the appearance of fidelity) to aspire toward w/ movie soundtracks anyway. [​IMG] And using actual theater sound playback as evidence doesn't work either as we don't all have the luxury of the kind of space involved.

    Finally, while I'll agree (as I originally did) that there's *potential* in MCH even for ambient mixes, calling it 3D is a fallacy me thinks. It is no more 3D than stereo unless you have channels aligned along a different plane/axis than stereo. It is just enhanced 2D, not truly 3D.

    As for Kevin's point about "clarity" and "density" of info, that does make sense to me. However, I don't believe you need more than 3 channels for that in practice for ambient mixes (or rather for the traditional stage-to-audience experience). And if your listening space is small-ish, the extra channel probably won't help either.

    But again, I'm speaking mainly of acoustic music performances in a stage-to-audience experience here, not the completely "artificial" stuff or some sort of new approach to the concert experience that something like DSOTM might use in a hypothetical Pink Floyd concert.

    _Man_
     
  6. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    2,699
    Likes Received:
    97
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    St. Hubert, Quebec, Canada
    Real Name:
    Paul
    First of all, I'd like to say, thanks for engaging in the debate. It's much more pleasant that just getting a reply like:

    MCH: pretty daft!

    If you don't mind, I'd like to address your comments further.



    MCH channels ARE aligned along a different plane/axis than stereo. That's largely the point.

    As for the ambient mixes and rear channels, the smaller the room, the more the rear channels offer a greater sense of spaciousness.

    I encourage you to find a properly set up system for MCH music playback (difficult to find, unfortunately, but worth the effort) and give MCH music an honest listen. After that, I'd be happy to continue the debate. I also recommend reading Kalman Rubinson's column at Stereophile called "Music in the Round". It's MCH music seen from an audiophile's perspective. These articles are free to access at their website.
     
  7. Rick_Brown

    Rick_Brown Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2001
    Messages:
    449
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    "we know we hear in stereo (w/ 2 ears)"

    I would challenge that statement. It's not as simple as two stereo speakers running straight into our ears. Our ears don't hear in stereo; our ears hear a 360-degree space all around us.

    Multi-channel should in theory add to our ability to come closer to re-creating that 360-degree space than just 2 speakers along one wall.
     
  8. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2000
    Messages:
    5,712
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Bingo. Well put.
     
  9. Max F

    Max F Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2004
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    If painters could paint in three dimensional space, many would probably choose not to do so, but the best would love it. Thats because the best artists are always limited by the media they use. Multi-ch removes some of those limitations.

    If you just listen to acoustic stuff and you are just looking for an experience of being at some auditorium, then 2-ch is good enough. I still rather listen to Alison Kraus and Union Station live in M-ch.

    If you would like to be transformed to a sonic landscape that the artist wants you to experience, then listen to a good Multi-ch setup and close you eyes. I listen to Beck's Sea Change and I'm whooshed away to other worlds!
     
  10. Justin_P

    Justin_P Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2004
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I have to chime in and build on the point made by Kevin earlier in the thread. As someone with an upper low end setup, multichannel has given me the opportunity to hear nuances in music that were previously only detected by those with the equipment and time, as well as a set of golden ears, to truly appreciate.

    I'm not a true audiophile, and with my gear (and even more so with my previous JBL HTiB setup), I often find it difficult to pick out details in a stereo mix. It's worth noting that often, the lower end the system, the more anemic the stereo imaging. While I can certainly notice from time to time the added depth and air that can be afforded a high res stereo mix (especially when I don my Grado SR-60 headphones), nothing can compare that to the increase in what I hear detail wise in a good multichannel mix.

    Multichannel, in it's best form, can bring an audiophile's appreciation of musical detail to the average Joe. Nuances that could previously only be heard on a $10,000+ setup can now be heard and appreciated on a setup costing $1,000 or less. While I concede that there is a definite drop in overall fidelity between systems in those price ranges, at least now the average Joe has the opportunity to hear things that he simply couldn't before.

    I'd also like to mention that multichannel, whether you subscribe to the 3-d or 2-d-on-a-different-plane camp, makes it much easier to visualize music. Many people's difficulty understanding the things that audiophiles notice in stereo mixes lies in the fact that there is no simple to understand visual representation of sound that you can physically point at and say "look at this." While multichannel still doesn't necessarily add the visual component, by broadening the sound from two channels to five it becomes much easier to say "listen to the sound coming out of the left surround" to a friend, or better yet, let them hear it for themselves.

    Just my two cents.

    Justin
     
  11. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2001
    Messages:
    6,021
    Likes Received:
    40
    Trophy Points:
    6,610
    Location:
    The BK
    Real Name:
    ManW
    Paul (and others),

    I won't argue that what you have for setup works well for you -- and for the time being, I'll just have to take your word for it about the fidelity of the sound.

    Let me just assume for the moment that what you say is completely true about the fidelity of your setup in comparing stereo vs MCH. But there is still the problem that your setup is really *not* one that everyone can have (and I'm not merely talking about buying a few mid-fi speakers), which was the main point I was trying to get across. It may seem easy to do for you (and some others), but I must submit that it is *not* what is feasible for many people who can already get good fidelity stereo playback w/ existing equipment/setup.

    For instance, in my case, if I need to match my main speakers closely enough, I'd probably need to upgrade my cheap surrounds to Vandersteen 2Ce's -- well, I guess maybe the 1 model might be ok enough. And then, I'm not all that convinced that the Vandersteen center is quite adequate for the center channel (for music playback) even if I get that -- yep, at the moment, I just steer the center channel to the 2 mains for home theater playback as my room is too small to need (or properly place) an adequately good center speaker anyway. Remember, we're talking *music* playback, not just movie soundtracks.


    Best regards,

    _Man_
     
  12. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2001
    Messages:
    6,021
    Likes Received:
    40
    Trophy Points:
    6,610
    Location:
    The BK
    Real Name:
    ManW
    Justin,

    You raised a good point about MCH for the average Joe. Maybe I missed that point in Paul's note about his setup.

    Having said that, the point doesn't necessarily work for audiophiles though -- or at least for those who already invested in decent audiophile-type gear.

    Also, your point actually muddles the discussion about fidelity. It sounds like you're merely suggesting something different as something better, which has nothing to do w/ audio fidelity.

    I guess we can debate on what the "pursuit of the absolute sound" should mean, but I believe audio fidelity should not take a backseat to the novelty of MCH. Being able to hear new details in some MCH mix is not the same as hearing a faithful reproduction of the "real thing". That's why I brought up the crude comparison to the average Joe using heavy doses of EQ and such, and there are still plenty of people that you'll have a hard time convincing regarding the poor audio quality of Bose gear just because they sound "good" to them.

    Now, as I said somewhere earlier, I'm a realist, not merely some idealistic audiophile in pursuit of TAS. But that does not really mean getting good fidelity sound is a pointless exercise. Sure, there are compromises to be made (as always), so it'd be good to understand what those compromises are and then make the ones that suit you best.

    For many of us, good fidelity sound is the whole point of audiophilism. Without consideration for fidelity, then what would be the real point of this hobby of sorts? If it's gonna be purely subjective, then why bother having this debate at all? [​IMG]

    BTW, I'm curious now, but do all you guys also subscribe fairly strictly to OAR viewing regardless of the content? That is, do you typically use whatever stretch modes on your widescreen TVs to view 4x3 content or do similarly for somethings else? [​IMG] Did you find the CG and/or maybe the digital theater presentation in the final installment of Star Wars to still be lacking or is it all so pretty to the eyes that you're finally convinced of Lucas' approach now?

    Yes, I'm aware that these latter questions are a bit OT, and yet, I believe they can be quite relevant to the discussion if we want to talk seriously about what matters to whom.

    _Man_
     
  13. Max F

    Max F Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2004
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks for the nice reply _Man_

    I think Justin made an excellent point that i have been thinking about too. That a decent multi-channel SACD lets us (the non-audiophile) experience what people (audiophiles) who pay mult-thousands of dollars to try to achieve in stereo.

    I think most of us are perfectly willing to except why other folks are not willing to move up to m-ch. Mainly:

    1) room/space constraints
    2) price (to properly match the front speakers)

    However, the problem is when folks preach that m-ch is just some gimmick with engineers playing around with some knobs to make some cool effects. M-ch, when done correctly and with the artists intent, is a beautiful experience. [​IMG]
     
  14. Allen Hirsch

    Allen Hirsch Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1999
    Messages:
    532
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    This is a useful thread. Thanks for the thoughtful posts, Paul, Man-Fai, and others.

    Maybe I'm lucky, in that I got timber-matched surround speakers when I did my HT 5 years ago. I also picked speakers that sounded as good for music as they did for HT. So I don't need a huge investment or upgrade in speakers to get MCH SACD.

    Until recently, all I've been lacking is a SACD player and a pre-pro that takes 5.1 analog inputs.

    Prompted by the availability of $4.99 SACDs at yourmusic.com, I made the software investment in SACD music that appeals to me, and got a MCH SACD changer. I'm still stuck with 2.0 analog inputs with my existing pre-pro, so I've only been getting the marginal improvement in two-channel SQ (IMO) from redbook to SACD. For THAT, I'd certainly not pay $20+/disc to "upgrade" or replace redbook; for MCH AND SACD, there are more than a few discs that I've been willing to spend that kind of $$ for (where yourmusic doesn't carry them, and probably won't).

    I am thisclose to getting a new pre-pro, and can't wait to listen to MCH, having followed some of the threads on several forums raving about Brothers in Arms and other MCH SACDs.
     
  15. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2001
    Messages:
    6,021
    Likes Received:
    40
    Trophy Points:
    6,610
    Location:
    The BK
    Real Name:
    ManW
    Allen,

    Yeah, I would certainly need to invest a whole lot for MCH playback unless I actually take steps backwards w/ my gear. [​IMG] You only need a pre-pro, but I need new speakers, new pre-pro, a new room -- which probably means some substantial renovations, if not a new house, and yes, there are people who buy houses around their audiophile "needs" [​IMG] -- and oh, probably a new wife too if I were to go through w/ all that (and I'd never hear the end of it from the in-laws). :wink:

    Actually, if I didn't spend the $$$ on photography that I did in the past couple years (*and* probably some more going forward), then I could actually afford those upgrades now -- well, ok, probably not the new room. HT/audio is not the only expensive "hobby" that involves electronic gadgets afterall. [​IMG]

    _Man_
     
  16. Justin_P

    Justin_P Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2004
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Stretch modes? We don't need no stinking stretch modes![​IMG] OAR all the way!

    It's an interesting and valid point Man-Fai makes by likening MCH mixes of stereo music to using the stretch mode on a widescreen TV. I'd never thought of it that way.

    I think that ultimately it comes down to a matter of personal taste and priorities in the listening experience. While the purity of the originally intended experience can truly be a beautiful thing (which is why I have and maintain a small but choice collection of vinyl), sometimes it's just fun to have great music completely surround you.

    This has turned out to be a very interesting and spirited discussion indeed!

    Justin
     
  17. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    2,699
    Likes Received:
    97
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    St. Hubert, Quebec, Canada
    Real Name:
    Paul
    There are a number of excellent replies here. This is exactly the kind of discussion I was hoping for. I can't reply at length at the moment (real life is intruding on the internet--imagine that[​IMG] ) but I will comment later. I just wanted to say I'm glad a real discussion has emerged.
     
  18. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    2,699
    Likes Received:
    97
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    St. Hubert, Quebec, Canada
    Real Name:
    Paul
    I'd like to address a few points:




    Here you raise a very interesting point. I am quite strict about OAR, unless I have no other choice. On the surface, that would seem entirely inconsistent with my position on MCH mixes. However, I offer the following as a possible defence (though you are, of course, free to disagree). In the instance of a film, non-OAR presentations are done almost exclusively without the approval of the director (who should have the final say). However, if the director approves an alternate cut/aspect ratio (as Stanley Kubrick did with several of his films) then I don't have a problem with them (even though I might have a preference for one over the other). With the MCH mixes that I own, the original artist has signed off on them. In the case of the RCA Living Stereo series, the three channel masters are exactly transfered without any EQ or processing, just as they were in the original recording session. In contemporary releases, it is understood that more than one mix will be released, so each is legitimate. Moreover, I would respond by saying music is more akin to live theatre than film. We don't expect (at least we shouldn't) a live performance to be note for note identical to the studio recording--or even to the previous night's performance. Music is re-interpreted, as are plays. Films are more like paintings. Once made, they represent a completed work (I know, of course, there are outtakes and re-cuts, but, in general, they are not re-interpreted in the same short-term manner as music and plays). Lastly, we're human beings, with the capacity for inconsistency, particularly when it comes to things we enjoy.[​IMG]
     
  19. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 27, 2001
    Messages:
    1,422
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'd be more apt to equate 5-channel stereo, or some derivation thereof, with a stretch mode. MCH mixes are anamorphically enhanced [​IMG]

    This topic seems to be debated as a scientific inquiry - how our ears actually hear, how music is presented live, etc - but it simply comes down to a matter of TASTE. As a musician myself, I really dig the possibilities that MCH mixes open up. It's almost like CGI in that it allows me to create sonic landscapes that have never been seen before. However, there are many people, other musicians included, that simply aren't interested in this. They, like artists of other mediums, feel that a particular idiom of expression (in this case 2-ch) suits their needs perfectly already. Another comparison we can use is the development of abstract painting in the early 20th century. Jackson Pollack, for example, simply wasn't content with the way existing painting styles allowed him to express himself. This certainly doesn't detract from the brilliance of earlier works, but it didn't work for his personal expression...
     
  20. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    2,699
    Likes Received:
    97
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    St. Hubert, Quebec, Canada
    Real Name:
    Paul


    I just want to say that TASTE is ultimately the right arbiter. (That's why I say "Enjoy the tunes--whatever format") And I don't want everything to become MCH (I have some mono recordings of which I'm quite fond). I simply want MCH, as a "taste" to be given a chance to earn the accolades I think it deserves. There's room (see hybrid SACDs) for everyone.[​IMG]
     

Share This Page