"The Great Capitulation"

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Wayne_T, May 12, 2002.

  1. Wayne_T

    Wayne_T Stunt Coordinator

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    I was browsing the Bryston web site for information about their new pre-pro and came across their latest newsletter. It contains a letter from Dennis Sands, a leading Hollywood scoring engineer. The letter provides some insight into why so little interest in Hollywood in producing 6.1/7.1 material, and an opinion that SACD/DVD Audio "will continue to be a novelty at best"
    http://www.bryston.ca/newsletters/64_files/vol6is4.html
    I thought the article might spawn some interesting discussion. I apologize if this letter has already been discussed, but a search for "Dennis Sands" came up with nothing. BTW, the list of sound tracks he has engineered is included and I'm sure contains many of your favorites.
     
  2. brucek

    brucek Second Unit

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    wayne,
    I completely agree with James on this subject, and I'm pleased to see that newsletter, indicating that it was a forced capitulation.
    It seems I've been defending my SP1 right along with Bryston from the very beginning because it didn't possess this or that particular decoding scheme and that "there's no way I'll consider an SP1 because it doesn't have 10.3 ET decoding" or some other nonsense flavor of the day.
    But, business is business, and as such they've given in to an upgrade and added just about every gizmo you'd want. Praise be, they didn't submit to the insanity of video switching - there's hope yet.
    Most of my listening is 2 channel and they haven't altered the SP1's two channel (thank goodness). I always felt 5.1 channels was my limit for speakers and couldn't imagine what you'd gain in a home by adding extra channels - what nonsense. The movie scoring Engineers seem to agree with me on that.
    When they originally announced there would be an upgrade in the SP1 to the SP1.7 I heard that they would add DPLII and a 5.1 analog bypass. Mmmm, I might consider the DPLII useful and in the unlikely situation that SACD would take hold, the 5.1 bypass might be nice.
    But look at the end result now - oh brother. I'm gonna have to think long and hard before I "capitulate" to all these changes on my machine.
    Others may disagree of course, whipping out all their anecdotal evidence of how they couldn't imagine life without their 8.2 Circle Around. That's OK - everyone's different. [​IMG]
    brucek
     
  3. Robert_Dufresne

    Robert_Dufresne Stunt Coordinator

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    Wayne
    I can understand wy scoring a movie in 6.1 or 7.1
    can be a major pain but you must remember that those
    extra chanels are used mainly for sound effects .
    As for SACD and other multichanel music recording
    techniques I think that their future is in live
    performance recording more than anything else, be it
    in a studio or a concert hall.
    Anyhow, it's just my opinion.
    Robert
    [​IMG]
     
  4. ling_w

    ling_w Second Unit

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    The continued push of higher and higher channels in a incremental pace, and at the same time, requiring you to get the latest equipment just to hear the new formats is the play by the mfg/studio to force people to constantly upgrade their equipment.
    There exists a functional multi-channel format called Ambisonic that has a fixed number of recording/carrier channels, and the number of playback channels is totally independt of that. Plus it utilizes recording/playback method based on more accurate human hearing model (ITD in addition to ILD,) something that movie/recording companies completely diregard when they do their mixing.
    Ambisonic had 4 carrier channels for true 3-D sound capture (W (mono),X,Y,Z axis velocity components) since its inception at the time DPL came around. It has morphed from a pseudo 4 ch to 5.1, 6.1, 7.1 in that time period, forcing mass obsolescence, while Ambi recordings were able to capture in 3-D (not just 2-D) using only 4 channels, and it is still need only 4 channels.
    Don't forget, I didn't say 4 playback channels, since playback could be 1,2,4,6,7,8,16,32,64 discrete channels (including multiple height channels,) all depending how complex the decoding processor is.
    Even with recording, a single soundfield mic is all that is needed to capture sound in 3-D, and in the case of the sound desecrating big studios with their multi-track recording, a Ambi mixer is all that is needed (which outputs in the 4 channels in addition to creating ILD component from the ITD information.)
    You could find out all about it under:
    http://www.ambisonic.net/
    And see what the giant media companies have been supressing from the public.
     
  5. Luke M

    Luke M Extra

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    nt
     
  6. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    If I could remind people of another controversial technology. In the early 70's, spokesmen for IBM were asked about color on their new IBM PC's. Their response was something like "Color displays are for kids games. They have no place on a serious business computer which the IBM PC clearly is".

    Sometimes the industry-insiders cannot see the forest for the trees.
     
  7. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I have a 6.1 receiver, but no good place to put my rear center (more or less the rear wall is 95% glass, floor to ceiling), so I have been running 5.1 and have been more than pleased with it so far. I have hooked up the 6th speaker previously, just to try it out and was impressed. This weekend, I decided to put up the 6th channel again, calbrate, and live with it for the weekend (or week, it's still there).

    I pulled out my favorite ES/EX DVDs and gave them all a good listen, switching back and forth between 5.1 and 6.1 for the big scenes. Toy Story 2, T2:UE, Gladiator, TPM:EP1 and Seven:SE (I have yet to try out Superspeedway:MachII). All I can say is WOW, the difference is very noticable, and quite dramatic with some of the scenes. Directionality is not lost, and the rear seems very seemless - panned effects are more apparent and complete. The rear center does not draw attention to itself, rather it blends in perfectly. I am not "blown away" but I am impressed to say the least.
     
  8. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    Well, that's his opinion, but it is certainly not representative of everyone in the recording business. Guys like Tom Holman are pushing for even more channels, because they don't feel that 5.1, 6.1, or even 7.1 are capable of accurately reproducing a natural 3-D soundscape(if that is the ultimate goal). Of course, there are practical considerations that have to be taken into account, but 6.1 or 7.1 doesn't seem that outrageous to me.

    I'm actually suprised by Bryston's atittude. They grudgingly have to add multi-channel analog bypass? Huh? Don't they want some of their customers, who are spending alot of money on their equipment, to be able to take advantage of the highest quality reproduction that is available now(DVD-A & SACD)?

    Or do they offer 2 channel analog bypass and think multi-channel music is a waste?

    From a pragmatic business POV, new formats allow for new products to be developed and higher margins to be realized, so you would think it would be in their interest to add the latest things to their products.

    DJ
     
  9. flenn

    flenn Agent

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    Not to be nit picky (oh heck, maybe a little), but there were no PC's in the early 70's.
     
  10. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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  11. Jeremy Hegna

    Jeremy Hegna Supporting Actor

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    "Sometimes the industry-insiders cannot see the forest for the trees."

    I agree with Bob. Since when is the target demographic for SACD and DVD-A, children? Who cares if kids crave MP3s. The older demographics crave decent recordings. CDs have run their course...upsampling and re-mastering sound better but the high resolution of SACD and DVD-A is definitely the NEXT level. So is multiple channel surround mixes in video. Especially, IMO, in the over-the-top action flicks being produced.

    There is a definite sonic advantage with 6/7.1 surround if done correctly. I've had 6/7.1 in my HT for the last year and regardless of the mix being in 5.1, there is an improvement on the rear sound field even when matrixed. This guy has done the final mix-downs in some great "sound" movies like Spiderman and MIB2. Why does he not see/hear the advantage...maybe he's lazy.

    Jeremy
     
  12. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I understand 6.1, but not entirely 7.1 What is the use of two rear centers that are reproducing basically the same thing? THX Ultra 2 calls for the two rear centers to be placed side by side...how is that much different from a single center in terms of processing? Why not use two front centers?

    I think that 5.1 mixes can be done extremely well, and there isn't too much real need beyond that, but I feel 6.1 is a logical progression - mirror the front stage, and you should have a perfectly enveloping soundstage front and rear. I also understand his point that, is more than 5.1 really necessary for most home theaters?

     
  13. ling_w

    ling_w Second Unit

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  14. Craig_Kg

    Craig_Kg Supporting Actor

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    The reference to SACD & DVD-A in the letter seemed to refer to the multichannel versions. Both formats allow for 2 channel performance that should be markedly better than CD.

    BTW. Apple were the ones who felt colour was not required as the Macs were supposed to be business machines. IBM PCs always had colour as at least an option (remember CGA & EGA?)

    IBM thought there would be a worldwide market for 50 computers when they created their mainframe line and structured their support and lease pricing accordingly. Actual demand left them rolling in cash.
     
  15. Robert Elliott

    Robert Elliott Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi all,
    Since PC's were introduced into this discussion, let me provide another point for you to consider:
    Wintel. For those familiar, this is a wonderful relationship between a software producer (THX&DTS) and a hardware producer (pick any brand except Bryston) whereby the two have fed off (and many believe conspired with) each other to force consumers into a constant upgrade process. The software is constantly demanding newer hardware to be most efficient and beneficial and the latest hardware needs new software to take advantage of all its capabilities.
    The audio industry for the most part seems intent on following the model laid out by MS and consumers are once again lining up at the door. Gee, I need more speakers to get good sound, let me buy them. Gee, to use my speakers I need to buy a new processor, let me buy them. Round and round and round.
    Bryston offers two channel analog bypass. Regarding multi-channel SACD/DVD-A, I simply don't get it. I have never been anywhere that featured a musical production where I was surrounded by the band. Give me two channel stereo(maybe a center but it tends to collapse the stage on certain processors) and piss off with all these other sound formats. Better sound quality from SACD/DVD-A two channel you say? Is there a consensus on this? Aren't both formats inherently flawed...same as CD. Why accept as a standard something flawed instead of seeking out something that is better - this harkens right back to Wintel, doesn't it.
    For those who have to have SACD/DVD-A, why should Bryston stick 5.1 analogue inputs on their player - or any manufacturer? It's a cost driver, waste of real estate, and unnecessary. The two camps should include a digital out and stop pissing around. Last I heard, Sony had laid down the guantlet though and said they would never offer digital out.
    A single speaker behind you, as in 6.1, can play tricks with your hearing and make you think the sounds are actually coming from in front of your position. Hence, the move to 7.1 so they are off to your sides...and you need to purchase another speaker...and maybe a processor...
    Sometimes the consumers see the pretty trees, enter the forest, and are left for dead. [​IMG]
     
  16. brucek

    brucek Second Unit

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    Couldn't have said it better myself Robert. Right on.

    brucek
     
  17. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    THX Ultra 2 states that the two rear centers are to be side by side, effectively acting as one speaker, so I don't see how that would put them to either side of you.

    My room is ~25ft deep, and I have never once heard rear effects sound like they are mistakenly coming from the front. My mains and 3 rears are all at ear level.

    There are two different issues here - movies and music.

    I listen to 90% of my music in stereo, the rest are either DTS CDs or multi channel DVDs. There are not enough SA or DVD-A titles that I want, nor do I feel either is "stable" enough to jump in. Not to mention the fact that I can be happy right now with 2ch right now.

    Movies - I don't see anything wrong with having 6 or 7 channels for movies at all, however as I and others already said, 5.1 already sounds great.

    The PC industry, software, as well as the telecom industries are proving right now that continuous upgrade has a ceiling. How long did Intel think that they could keep making faster processors before people reached a point where more speed really wasn't benefiting 75% of the market to upgrade? How many new "features" could Microsoft come up with before people stopped buying the latest and greatest version of Windows? If you sell everyone a cell phone that is works, sooner or later, the majority of people will stop buying new ones...

    Well, just because you have a format that has 6, 7, or 10 speakers, doesn't mean everyone is rushing out to buy new receivers or more speakers. It's still a novelty stage, just like SA & DVD-A, just like MD was. I just happened to be looking for a new receiver right when 6.1 receivers became relatively common, so the receiver I bought because I liked the 2ch sound for music, happened to have 6.1 capability.

    In the case of Wintel, I do feel there was much conspiring, but in the case of home theater, I do feel they are trying to bring more to the consumer. I don't feel I have been "forced" to upgrade.
     
  18. ling_w

    ling_w Second Unit

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    Robert,

    That is why the big companies colluded to kill Ambisonic. Ambisonic would have meant the end of upgrade based on what the software produces had up their sleeves. All recordings would have been 4 channels, and depending on your playback capability, you could have as many playback channels you want. If the equipment manufactures found out that they can't force the consumers with upgrades by planned obselescence, then their pocket would dry up. That is why the collusion of hardware, software and standard setters in situations like the introduction of TPM and 6.1

    Meridian already has a encrypted digital out from their 800 DVD-A player to their 861 processor.
     
  19. Robert Elliott

    Robert Elliott Stunt Coordinator

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    John,
    Regarding speaker placement, where exactly did you see that particular guideline? The guidelines I have seen state in 6.1 the rear speaker should be aligned with the center channel directly behind the listener. In a 7.1 system, the guidelines state the rear surrounds should be located equidistant from the center line and not point directly at the listener - which is exactly what they do if placed together behind the listeners head.
    Aside from the guidelines, 7.1 would make absolutely no sense to have the speakers placed together; what purpose would it serve since the same sound is coming from both speakers?
    The rear center (in 6.1) directly behind you that appears to be coming from in front of you. Not my theory and I have never heard it. Physchoacoustic theory predicts this phenomena and some on this board and/or others claim to have heard it.
    It could be argued the computer industry never forced anyone to upgrade. Hell, a word processor is no more effective or efficient on a 1.6gHZ chip than it was on a 386. The ONLY software titles taking full advantage of hardware since the first Pentiums are games - and some would argue CAD or CGI.
    Question for you. You bought a 6.1 channel receiver. Do you have 5 or 6 speakers? If 5, do you need to buy a 6 speaker to take full advantage of that receiver? [​IMG]
    From the mental rambling archives:
    Just read about experimentation going on with 10.2. Seems to be similar to 5.1 but with a second speaker at each location to provide a height channel. Of course, we will then have 12.2 and 14.2.
    Oh yeah and read some cool stuff on LFE (on a site catering to mixing engineers) which said LFE is not particularly suitable to multichannel audio and is best not used - said it ruins kick drums and some other instruments. Wish I had found that when everyone was arguing about double-bass on the Outlaw when using 5.1 bypass.:b
     
  20. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    This month's Home Theater Magazine states, and shows their rear centers mounted in the configuration I noted. I also said, I can't see why this would be beneficial. It would make more sense to me to have the two rear centers to either side of the front center. I also read another article online that shows and states that Dolby and THX say the rear centers should be spaced apart. The Lucasfilm/THX website does not have the Ultra 2 specs up, so I have no idea what the real story is.
     

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