Is multichannel-ness holding back hi-rez audio?

Discussion in 'Music' started by Rachael B, Jan 26, 2004.

  1. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Is it? I say yes. Since it's costly to remix all this old stuff into some kind of sometimes barely listenable multichannel mix. In an alternate universe we might get more stereo titles faster. I'd favour that. Multichannel is intresting and it's gonna grow but it's better served with newly recorded material for obvious reasons.

    I'd rather see catalog titles in SA-CD and the oft' rumoured hybrid DVD-A flow in stereo rather than trickle out with everything M/C all the time. I could imagine discs that had some M/C content but the album is stereo. Face it, alot of stuff really isn't worth mixing to M/C anyway.

    So, do you like hamburger 'A', a future of slow tedious M/C releases? Or, hamburger 'B', the fresh, juicy, delicious, stereo burger that you can get fast at the drive-in window?[​IMG]
     
  2. PhilBoy

    PhilBoy Second Unit

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    Excellent thought...

    Most of what I would get doesn't lend itself to M/C.

    An advanced resolution STEREO issue would be great. It might even help the medium fly.
     
  3. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Rachael, I agree 100%. 85% of the multi-channel mixes don't do it for me. With DPLII, DTS Neo6, Concert Hall, etc., there are tons of DSP modes that someone who likes surround sound can choose from in order to enjoy stuff in surround, if they so choose, and most of those DSP modes, even though not necessarily my choice are certainly more listenable and better sounding than many of those horrid mixes done. I think it is a marketing thing for the hi-rez labels with hurting sales of music to tell the public they are getting a lot more than just a 2-channel CD. I have not heard any of the handful of the new MoFi multi-channel SACDs but I'd bet they sound good and they are only using the multi-channel mix when it is appropriate.
     
  4. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    May I issue a dissenting opinion?

    I do have a few newer titles in MC (Heathen, Sea Change, Linkin Park, Steely Dan), and they are for the most part great and very enjoyable (well, I am on the fence WRT LP).

    But I also have a big 'ole pile of older stuff that I like even better. Aerosmith, Elton, The Who, Floyd, ELP, Chicago, Eagles....

    That stuff has taken on new life in MC. Even Dylan (Blood on the Tracks) is fabulous in MC, and I have never been much of a Dylan fan.

    Sitting in the sweet spot while Aerosmith rocks out around my room on TITA was quite literally breathtaking.

    In fact, I don't normally listen to the 2 CH mixes, because they seem flat and lifeless compared to the MC mixes on the discs that I own (Lee, if your looking in, PLEASE do not offer to help me fix my system. It ain't broke[​IMG]).

    So, while I agree with your premise that having to do a MC mix probably does delay hi-rez releases, I will take burger A please.

    While I have bought some 2 CH only stuff (the Stones, Police), for the music I listen to, MC has been a breath of fresh air and has allowed me to revisit stuff I have not heard in years, and enjoy it more than I ever have.

    BGL
     
  5. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    The MC classical music I have alone is worth it and it is a key selling point of DVD-A. It absolutely has to stay. It just doesn't need to be necessary.
     
  6. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    In the real world, as opposed to the audiophile realm, improved stereo fidelity is meaningless.

    Regardless of whether a particular mixing style is liked, the difference between stereo and multi-channel is something that everyone gets.

    So, if you want to get the new formats to sell you have to provide something demonstrably different.

    Cheers,
     
  7. Larry Geller

    Larry Geller Supporting Actor

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    Burger A, all the way! The fact that they all have MC mixes is DVD-A's biggest advantage over SACD. Now, if only all DVD-As had stereo tracks (do you hear me, Silverline?).
     
  8. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    I think any early adopter, audiophile, HT fan, serious music fan, etc. finds value in the extra musical content on any hirez disc. Their world is just as real as anyone else's regardless of how big it is.

    I agree with John about having something different. I think multi-channel can be a point of differentiation to the masses so I think it is good to bundle in, but I mostly listen to stereo and most times lose none of the "enevloping experience" of a good M-C disc. People who have never heard a stereo with good soundstaging often are not aware how realistic and 3-D a good 2-channel recording can sound. [​IMG] And some M-C music can place one on the performing stage in a very unrealistic fashion.

    The problem has been in awareness I think. Why don't we take some of these great multi-channel experiences and demonstrate them for the movie audiences? Think of the difference going from 2 channel to surround and back again and back and so forth. That would make an impression on people. I know that Sony has held Super Audio demos in German theaters, but that is a limited market.

    As an audiophile, I am plenty happy with 2 channel but if M-C leads to more titles in any fashion, then I am fine with it.

    I do think Rachael has a good point in that it can lead to time delays in releases, but hopefully these will decrease as the formats grow. [​IMG]
     
  9. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    John. "In the real world, as opposed to the audiophile realm, improved stereo fidelity is meaningless." That is why I noted "I think it is a marketing thing for the hi-rez labels with hurting sales of music to tell the public they are getting a lot more than just a 2-channel CD." If music sales were not so depressed it might be a different story. The labels are trying to win back customers by marketing it to be more. Rachael's point is that slowing down releases to do it may offset any potential gain in customer satisfaction.
     
  10. Michael St. Clair

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    I personally feel that multichannel is the only chance of high-res to grow from a very small audiophile niche. This does not mean I think all multichannel mixes are good.
     
  11. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    I think that it makes no difference: high-rez will remain a niche regardless of whether software is 2-channel or multi-channel or both.

    The typical end-user wants portability, rip-ability and compatability with typical hardware (and usually, that means something other than a 5.1 or greater speaker array).
     
  12. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Maybe there are 2 tracks possible here....

    1. Label X issues many titles on stereo only and get them out the door quickly.

    2. Label X issues some titles as both stereo and m-c discs less frequently but has more time.

    I can see this working particularly well for audiophile labels where most of the users are 2 channel oriented. I would hope that Label X does not release the same title in both, since that annoys the customer base by perhaps making them want to buy the second disc for the surround.

    Label X candidates may be: Reference Recordings, Telarc, Chesky, FIM, S&P, Audio Fidelity, Analog Productions, etc. (although Telarc does not seem to suffer a speed disadvantage on its m-c recordings). Perhaps Universal and Sony could release more stereo-only titles as well.
     
  13. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    The numbers of folks happy with MP3 >>> the numbers of folks who want hi-rez.

    Answer to your question: I doubt you'll get many converts.

    This thread keeps regenerating itself under a new guise every few days. First, the number of connections between the player and the processor/receiver was holding back hi-rez, then it was the availability of new software titles and now its the presence of multi-channel mixes. Point to whatever you like, but the bottom line is the same: the majority of music consumers now and in the forseeable future want redbook CD and low-rez digital files.

    Standardize a hybrid hi-rez format, 100% compatable with all existing hardware, and all of these issues dissolve. Problem solved. Everyone gets what they want.

    Something worth striving for.
     
  14. Michael St. Clair

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    Note that I've never predicted mainstream success for high-res...I'm not that bold.

    I simply think that the only chance of that is through multichannel.

    I'm not sure how good of a chance that is.

    I don't need mainstream high-res to be happy with the format, so it's not a huge deal to me.
     
  15. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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    I don't think that multi-channel will be the driving force. There has always been the option of releasing MC music via Dolby Digital and DTS, where there is already a huge base of players and receivers--with a digital interface to boot--yet interest wasn't big. And I don't think it's because people didn't like the sound quality of DTS.

    Hi-rez is facing a tough battle because there two basic issues coming from separate fronts: the public doesn't seem to care, and the content providers don't seem to want to sell a product they perceive is vulnerable to piracy. I think HD-DVD will face the same dilemma.
     
  16. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    I only buy multichannel releases. I wouldn't have even bought a player if it weren't for that.

    1. multichannel gives me something different

    2. I expect that studios that release in stereo now are simply planning on releasing surround versions later, in an effort to double dip the consumer. I won't be part of that. It's either surround or nothing. (I've bought the surround David Bowie titles but I will not buy the David Bowie stereo releases until they're redone as surround).
     
  17. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    Agree again and certainly the only reason I got into the hi-rez game.I burned my "audiphile mebership card" long time ago.Yeah, it's good to be "wise and free".[​IMG]
     
  18. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    I think this is happening to some extent with a larger number of and cheaper universal players. I don't see copy protection going away anytime soon though, which may prove valuable in the long run because it raises Super Audio's appeal.

    Despite the poor marketing and lack of titles, there are signs that growth is occuring such as Sonopress' expansion of Super Audio capacity and the investment in DVDA flippers. My point is that the industry is perceiving value and shows no indication of giving up at this point. [​IMG]
     
  19. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    If it was only stereo I wouldn't even consider replacing my cd's with SACD or DVD-A's. As it is, I'm only buying DVD-A's and DTS discs for the m/c mix (which are sometimes disappointing). If I ever get a uni-disc player, I may appreciate the hi-res part and change my tune, but for now true 5.1, not that DSP crap, has me enjoying music allot more these days. As for the slow release time, it didn't take the movie industry very long to convert thousands of titles to DD and DTS. I know music is harder to convert, but there must be other reasons as well. Anyway, if it wasn't for M/C, SACD would have died an un-noticed death and DVD-A would have never been produced in the first place. P.S. if I sound kinda cranky, I had two wisdom teeth yanked out this morning. Gene
     
  20. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Hey, I never implied there should be no multi-channel discs issued! I simply said every bleeding SA-CD or DVD-A issued need not automatically, have to be M/C. Many labels seem to be taking that stance. I hear folks giving replys that read like, I'm buying not Brand X again unless it's M/C this time. Well, not everybody bought Brand X the first time yet anyway.

    We shouldn't just be replacing older software when we but hi-rez. That's not my central motivation. I'm looking for new music or music I've never owned but always wanted. I have lame shape records and dismal CD's I do want to replace, but most of the time I'd like something new. M/C or stereo only will never affect my choice. I'm not gonna skip an intresting artist because they're only in stereo.

    What I won't buy at this point is software that doesn't include a stereo track to fall back on. I'm 50-50 at best about liking the M/C mixes, DVD-A or SA-CD, it makes no difference. My pre will mix DTS discs down to stereo if I don't like the mix, but it don't do that for DVD-A.

    I just think release schedules for hi-rez are too slow and it's because they're struggling to create M/C out of old tapes. I think all of everything doesn't need to be 5.1 . I think 5.1 should be more concentrated on new record stuff. That's where I'm hearing the best results according to my subjective set of criteria.[​IMG]

    To me, all old music doesn't need to be made 5.1 to retain it's entertainment value. How do you make, say, Bob Dylan's THE TIMES THEY ARE A'CHANGIN' into M/C...answer, put him voice, harmonica, and guitar in the centre channel and skip the other channels...???[​IMG]

    We all have our various tastes and oppinions, but just about everybody must be able to point atleast some music that they like but can admit, that's not worth remixing into 5.1 .

    5.1 or not isn't a very good criteria for selecting music.

    I'd gladly trade more hi-rez in stereo only some of the time for a rigid release format of 5.1 or nothin' that has fewer releases. Sony and Universal seem to be slipping into that to a great extent.
     

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