Music vs. Movies - Are we Hypocritical?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Doug_L, Sep 6, 2001.

  1. Doug_L

    Doug_L Stunt Coordinator

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    It has occurred to me recently as I move around the Home Theater Forum, that there are some definite likes and dislikes, and that we are not always consistent. Let me illustrate my point.
    I think it's safe to say that most people here prefer movies (DVD's in particular) to be encoded in the OAR with as little digital enhancement as possible, ie: a "pure" transfer. There also seem to be many (though maybe not a majority) of people who seem to enjoy/prefer listening to music in 5-channel stereo or any other of the multitude of digital "enhancement" modes that most receivers come with today.
    Does this strike anybody as hypocritical? Now I'm not accusing/assuming that everybody who prefers OAR also likes to listen to 2-channel music is 5-channel surround (hopefully it just the opposite), but there must be some people prefer this double-standard. As a question to those people, do you have a rationale, or some way that you justify this apparent hypocrisy?
    I don't want you to think that I'm implying, or accusing, that what you doing is wrong, because it's fine by me as long as you enjoy it (and who am I to judge your hobby anyway). I'm just wondering in general if we give movies a higher spot in our untouchable Pantheon? Shouldn't we care about the artist's and producer's vision for an album/song as much as we puport to value the director's vision for movies?
    We spout on and on about proper calibration and speaker position for DD 5.1 and DTS, as movies are mixed to be played back in a particular way to "recreate" what the sound mixer hears. Yet many of us don't seem to care about recreating what the audio mixer hears, do we?
    This is not meant to turn into an Audiophile-Videophile debate, and there's only our opinions, but I'm wondering what other people's views are.
     
  2. JohnFR

    JohnFR Stunt Coordinator

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    Doug,
    I think some of your assumptions are incorrect. I can't speak for others, but I HATE listening to stereo music in 5 channel or any DSP mode. It almost always sounds terrible. I have never heard a single DSP mode such as "Hall" or "Stadium" that I find tolerable for music or movies. In fact, I often listen to CDs in analog "direct mode" bypassing the processor altogether. When I do use the processor, I do so primarily for bass management and set my receiever to stereo. I know many others here do the same. I do care about what the intent of the artist is. That's why I try to buy speakers and equipment that strives for accuracy, warts and all, and does not color or change the sound.
    JR
     
  3. Brent Cantrell

    Brent Cantrell Stunt Coordinator

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    I've been playing music in bars and some studio work for around 14 years now, and I prefer to listen to music in multi channel modes. I preferred this before DTS and SACD's came about, not to mention DVD audio, (all of which I think are cool). Multi channel modes sound the closest to what I hear in a live setting, be it performance or studio. On that note, it's never bothered me to listen to 2 channel music, during production, the final tracks are mixed down with the understanding that it will be listened to from 2 channels from the majority of consumers. To further compound the situation, I also use an EQ(gasp), to further color the sound to my taste.
    I'm an OAR purist, I hate P&S. (Just to clarify my standing on that point). I think part of it is, is music is such a personal thing, listen to it however it suits you, it's meant to evoke emotion. If it takes some kind of digital manipulation to achieve that, so be it. To play devil's advocate, if letterboxing interferes with your enjoyment of a movie, watch it in P&S, it's your life anyway.
    ------------------
     
  4. Ben Reierson

    Ben Reierson Extra

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    Well obviously there are some people who like DSP modes, but I have seen distinct lack of them on this forum over the years. Normally, if I see DSP modes even mentioned it's from someone asking why anyone would use these. I don't use them because they don't sound good, but also because what you hear then is not what the artist intended.
    However, there is another side to this coin. Multi-channel music, encoded by the ARTIST, is completely different in my mind. Things like DTS-CDs, multi-channel SACD, and DVD-Audio were actually intended to be heard from more than two speakers. I have heard 2-channel purists rant about how multi-channel sucks and how 2 speakers is all you need for music. Well, maybe, if you just want to recreate live performances and only care about all the sound that would normally come from the stage, but all music isn't like that.
    Just like surround sound opened up new possibilities for movie-makers, so does multi-channel music for musicians. What if Trent Reznor thinks it would be cool if he could make you hear some voice way off in the distance behind you? Well I would want to hear that. I would want to hear it exactly the way he envisioned it. What if a composer always wanted the audience to hear what it's like to sit right in the MIDDLE of the orchestra, instead of in front of it?
    The bottom line is, you can be a hardcore OAR purist and still like multi-channel music, it just has to be what the artist intended.
     
  5. Jeff Keene

    Jeff Keene Supporting Actor

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    My name is Jeff Keene... and I listen to music in 5 channel stereo.
    I've never liked DSP modes, and pro-logic has never done music justic, IMO, but when I got my Denon I marvelled at how "good" its 5-ch mode sounded. It is all I would use for a good while.
    I attribute my preference to 5-ch to growing up listening to my favorite tapes and then CD's in the car, which is basically a 4-ch stereo system (or a 2x 2-ch, but let's not argue), and enjoying having the music come from all around.
    BUT.
    I've noticed myself fatigue-ing early when listening to CDs in this way. I blamed my speakers for a long time for this fatigue (and my cheap Klipshes COULD be better), and dreamed of buying 5 B&W's to solve this problem.
    I've noticed the opposite of the original poster, however, in that I felt I was the ONLY one in the world who liked 5-ch stereo, and always wondered why. I mean, I got the whole black-bar thing way back. Really.
    So, I started listening in Direct mode, which is 2-ch. And I hated that flat 2 dimentional sound! At first. I have noticed that the fatigue went away. And I noticed the sound getting better and better as I adjusted from my predjudice. I'm finding myself dreaming now of a high-end PAIR of speakers (I've always been satisfied with my Def Tech surrounds for movies).
    But then, now we're seeing the advent of 5-ch MIXES (DVD-A, SACD, etc.). This makes the whole thing even more confusing. I may STILL wish to have equal speakers all around when this comes to fruition (in any quantity).
    So I am apt to continue in confusion, but I've been humbler about preaching 5-ch stereo to my friends. I may have been wrong all this time.
    I still watch Buffy in 5-ch though. Seems like Willow's sitting right next to me... um, nevermind.
     
  6. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i tend to think the best way of viewing/listening to something is to hear/watch it the way the artist intended.
    with video, oar is the only way to go. that's pretty obvious to me. i want to see the entire composition, blah, blah, blah.
    with audio, a distinction need to be made. are we talking about a 2-channel cd or a hi-resolution cd (sacd, dvd-a)? with a 2-channel cd, i would probably only listen to it in 2-channels (i haven't heard dplii yet). i hate those hall, concert, stadium dsp's...they all sound lousy to me.
    but, with sacd, the intent is multi-channel sound. you're supposed to hear different things coming from the different speakers, so that's (probably) how i'll listen to it...if i ever get that kind of setup.
    ------------------
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  7. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    My only point in favor of 2 channel music is that if you are watching a live performance, you are not standing in the middle of the stage facing the drummer/or having the drummer behind you. You're just supposed to hear whatever is playing on the right go into your right ear, and the same goes for the left.
    With a 4 speaker car system, it isn't really 4 channel stereo. You just have two speakers on each side of you. Yeah, you hear it from the back, but it's the same as the front (right & left respectively). Right?
    Glenn
     
  8. Carson E

    Carson E Agent

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    Ever consider that the two channel vs. all other preferences might depend a lot on the type of music one listens to.
    Ex: I often like what I call "space" music. A speciality music from the so called New Age category. Most of it sounds great in DPL or DPL phantom center. The music has so much ambience that the rear channels seem very important to me.
    But when listening to a cont. Jazz CD or DVD concert I would prefer 2 channel over hearing a drum beating from a rear channel. (If mixed that way) It shouldn't be. So type of music could be a factor.(?)
    Just thinking...
    carson
    [Edited last by Carson E on September 08, 2001 at 01:41 AM]
     
  9. Reginald Trent

    Reginald Trent Screenwriter

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    Unlike movies, most music has no OAR. The the end result mono, 2 channel stereo, quad or 6 channel audio is determined during the mixdown. Therefore, music can be listen to with full enjoyment in any of those formats.
     
  10. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    As Home Theater enthusiasts, we are naturally bent towards sound, audio and music. Why else would we be using 7.1 channel surround sound receivers. There are many film enthusiasts who own 8 and 16 mm film projectors and listen to the audio coming right out of the projector speaker and they are concerned more about the film picture than about the audio.
    Audio is so much more flexible in its presentation, and how we perceive it and how we WANT to perceive it depends on the individual and also on the mood of individual. Audio is something we like to control. Audio that isn't absolutely precisely reproduced the way it was meant to sound by the movie makers does not ruin the experience. Louder or different frequency response can be an improvement, rather than "unfaithfull reproduction". Also, our rooms are different and require our personal tweaking.
    The video portion is pretty static in comparison. Apart from getting the levels right, the video requires that the various parts of the image remain at a specific contrast level in order to present the picture, and therefore the story. I think there is less flexibility there. We want the video to be as faithful to the original as possible, but we like to playback the audio to our liking. More bass, less bass, more treble, different surround delays etc. Thats how I see it.
    [Edited last by Chris PC on September 08, 2001 at 09:13 AM]
    [Edited last by Chris PC on September 08, 2001 at 09:16 AM]
     
  11. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    In a previous thread from many moons ago, someone commented that the music videos on DVD's was in 2.0, while the movie was in 5.1. I have a few, and they are all 2.0. Does anyone have any that were recorded in 5.1 or more?
    Glenn
     
  12. Mike Knapp

    Mike Knapp Supporting Actor

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  13. Eugene Hsieh

    Eugene Hsieh Supporting Actor

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    Listen to whatever pleases you. However, it's a mistake to think that 2-channel always best emulates a concert. I've been to some where there are speakers everywhere in the venue. Would 2-channel be the best for recreating these venues? In truth, if you happen to sit in the exact right spot between the speakers, 2-channel often is the best, but sometimes it probably isn't. As for 5-channel stereo, I don't actually like 5-channel as much, but I do like 4-channel stereo, and I also like Dolby Pro Logic II (music mode). I also like Definitive Technology Bipolar speakers for (some) music.
    P.S. I find it odd that some who make this 2-channel argument refuse to use equalizers. With most rooms, it's virtually impossible to create a flat frequency response curve without one. That said, I don't use one, except for my subwoofer. However, ideally, I would have an equalizer circuit for all 6 of my channels.
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  14. Mike Knapp

    Mike Knapp Supporting Actor

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  15. Reginald Trent

    Reginald Trent Screenwriter

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    Music is more flexible than movies. Are those that advocating against listening to music in more than 2 channels really saying music should be listened to in 2 channel stereo only?
     
  16. Mike Knapp

    Mike Knapp Supporting Actor

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    Reginald
    quote: Are those that advocating against listening to music in more than 2 channels really saying music should be listened to in 2 channel stereo only?[/quote]
    I cant speak for others but my opinion is that if it was mastered in 2 channels it should only be played back in 2 channels. The same goes for 5.1....if it was mastered in 5.1, thats how it should be played.
    I guess my belief is that you should not apply your own "processing" to films or music.
    Just my opinion. Id bet 100 bucks that you disagreee with me....you always do.
    Mike
    [Edited last by Mike Knapp on September 08, 2001 at 07:52 PM]
     
  17. Reginald Trent

    Reginald Trent Screenwriter

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    Mike, have you ever heard of curiousity, adverture and experimentation? Is it okay to listen to 2 channel music in multi-channel modes under those conditions? Or is it also okay to listen to 2 channel stereo in multi-channel mode just because you prefer it that way?
    Btw Mike, history has shown that some of the greatest inventions/creations came about under those conditions.
     
  18. Mike Knapp

    Mike Knapp Supporting Actor

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  19. Reginald Trent

    Reginald Trent Screenwriter

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    Mike, I for one do not feel challenged by your opinion. I also don't see why some want to control how others enjoy their entertainment/music.
    [Edited last by Reginald Trent on September 08, 2001 at 08:44 PM]
     
  20. Graeme Shiomi

    Graeme Shiomi Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't know about most people, but whenever I see the argument (for 2-channel or multi-channel) that a certain format sounds more like a "live" performance, the first thing I think is "so what?".
    Personally, each time I've been to a live performance, I've enjoyed it, but if I were the only one in the same venue with the same performer, I wouldn't have enjoyed it. For me, a live performance is great because of the crowd, the noise, watching the performers, hearing versions of songs that aren't on any album, the whole spontaneous nature of the event. In most cases, the sound quality itself was crap or 'not ideal'. Sure the sound may have been coming from a speaker from behind my head, but that doesn't mean I want it that way at home.
    In other words, to me, trying to emulate a live performance at home only works if you can bring over a bunch of fans, make the CD improvise parts of songs randomly, and making the CD react to the fans who are in the room with you.
    Graeme
     

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