Surround sound / Atmos Music?

Eric_L

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I am interested in listening to surround sound music on my 7.1 system. I have a few apps with independent artists, and I have seen a few live performance DVDs, but what I'd really like is to just listen to studio recordings in surround sound. And I am having a heluva time figuring out both how to do it and where to find content.

The industry bemoans that consumers are leaving behind multi-speaker systems in order to buy singer-speaker solutions. Well - DUH! They make it nearly impossible to figure out how to use features, then roll out atrocious user interfaces with horrific user experiences. it is no wonder at all that most consumers prefer a device where they just say "Alexa - play me some good shit" and it works.

Meanwhile - I don't mid jumping through a few hoops to figure out what I want. So far all I can find is unclear solutions. Amazon Music Hi Fi offers it - but it is apparently only over their "high end" single-speaker, which seems contradictory to me. Tidal also seems to be a choice, but apparently only works with Android devices? So do users only listen with headphones? How do I get it to my system? I am unable to find any information on this process.

I cannot even find a good library of studio DVD music.

Does anyone else here have the desire to sit in the middle of the band and become fully immersed in the experience? I find it astounding that something which seems so obvious is such a hidden, if even existing, procedure.

Anyone figure it out yet or want to help me figure it out?
 

Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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For want you’re talking about, a recording has to be specifically recorded and mixed for surround sound. It can’t be adapted from a stereo release. AFAIK, the only music actually recorded for surround sound originally came out on SACD and DVD-A. Also AFAIK, both formats have been abandoned. I don’t know where Amazon and Tidal are getting their content, but true surround sound music is severely limited in offerings compared to regular stereo music. Your best bet, especially for something "easily navigated," is probably going to be to dig up some DVD-A and SACD discs. Naturally, you'll also need a compatible player.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 

Dave Upton

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I am interested in listening to surround sound music on my 7.1 system. I have a few apps with independent artists, and I have seen a few live performance DVDs, but what I'd really like is to just listen to studio recordings in surround sound. And I am having a heluva time figuring out both how to do it and where to find content.

The industry bemoans that consumers are leaving behind multi-speaker systems in order to buy singer-speaker solutions. Well - DUH! They make it nearly impossible to figure out how to use features, then roll out atrocious user interfaces with horrific user experiences. it is no wonder at all that most consumers prefer a device where they just say "Alexa - play me some good shit" and it works.

Meanwhile - I don't mid jumping through a few hoops to figure out what I want. So far all I can find is unclear solutions. Amazon Music Hi Fi offers it - but it is apparently only over their "high end" single-speaker, which seems contradictory to me. Tidal also seems to be a choice, but apparently only works with Android devices? So do users only listen with headphones? How do I get it to my system? I am unable to find any information on this process.

I cannot even find a good library of studio DVD music.

Does anyone else here have the desire to sit in the middle of the band and become fully immersed in the experience? I find it astounding that something which seems so obvious is such a hidden, if even existing, procedure.

Anyone figure it out yet or want to help me figure it out?
My approach to this is generally concert Blu-rays. They are a ton of fun and have a lot of good surround effects.

The selection isn't amazing, but there are a few real gems. I'd start with this one:

Amazon product
 

Doug Pyle

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There are a lot of jazz, orchestral classical and classic rock releases in hi-rez multi-channel formats, typically in 5.1 mixes. If you have a receiver that can create digital sound fields this multi-channel content can be converted by the receiver to 7.1 or other configurations, but I prefer playing back as recorded.

I don't own any DVD-A, but I have a large collection of SACD and Blu-Ray Audio. There are also some downloadable digital file services online (e.g. FLAC or DSD files), I haven't used them but I can get back to your later on that if interested in these services.

If you have a player that is able to play SACD or Blu-ray audio I can recommend:

  • Many of the Yes albums were released as Blu-ray audio hi-rez re-mastered and re-mixed for multi-channel. Very well done.
  • Al Di Meola has several releases beautifully authored for multi-channel, the best of which is his Flesh on Flesh album - the 5.1 channel sound supports and conveys the musical intent of the compositions, not just arbitrary placement of instruments in random speakers
There are many more. Do a search on Amazon for SACD or Blu Ray Audio to find some. Not sure how many new releases there are (kind of limited to classical or niche tastes) but a wide variety of prior releases can still be found.
 

JohnRice

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For want you’re talking about, a recording has to be specifically recorded and mixed for surround sound. It can’t be adapted from a stereo release.
Sometimes they've gone back to the original multi-track master tape and re-mixed it into multi channel. A lot of these were released on SACD. To me, the result always sounded absurd. It didn't impress me to listen to Steely Dan with trumpets coming out of the surround speakers.
 
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Dave Upton

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Sometimes they've gone back to the original multi-track master tape and re-mixed it into multi channel. A lot of these were released on SACD. To me, the result always sounded absurd. It didn't impress me to listen to Steely Dan with trumpets coming out of the surround speakers.
I'm a massive believer in listening in stereo for music, with subs of course.

There are some albums intentionally mastered in surround that are enjoyable, but not many
 

JohnRice

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I'm a massive believer in listening in stereo for music, with subs of course.

There are some albums intentionally mastered in surround that are enjoyable, but not many
Yeah, the purists will turn their noses up at us for using a sub with music, but I tell you what, try to play the Saint-Saëns Third Symphony without one. Or anything by Mahler, or Bruckner, or Tool or so many others.

I have quite a few SACDs and most of them have 5.1 mixes, but they are just silly in my book. A couple, like a collection of movie soundtrack music with the Cincinnati Pops, are OK in surround. Mahler's Second or Eighth Symphonies are easy to justify, since they're supposed to be performed with surround sound. For the most part, not so much. A lot of people think it's awesome. Even more insist on having sounds come from every speaker, even with music. It just doesn't do much for me.
 
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Dave Upton

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Properly integrating subs into a two channel setup is very difficult, and I think most have never heard subs that are properly time aligned and integrated with the mains. I have blown many audiophile friend's minds with my system, and not just because it's flat to 10Hz
 
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Eric_L

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Listening to the stereo 'purists' reminds me of arguments that impressionistic or abstract art isn't 'art' at all by those who think art is constrained to naturalistic images of sunsets and mountaintops. (and maybe dogs playing poker)
Just because it doesn't match your experience at a stage doesn't mean it cannot be appealing. By that standard we could easily dismiss all of the electronic effects that 'damage' the natural sounds of a voice or instrument.

Surround and atmos open up a whole new canvas for artists - arguably a whole new instrument . I for one an eager to see what new ideas artists can bring to the table. I don't expect every audio experiment to result in a home run - but nor will I disdain artists for attempts I don't happen to care for.

I will try some of these blue-ray and other ideas. I had hoped to find a streaming service of some sort, but alas - I guess that is not to be.
 

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