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  1. #1
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    What is your preferred acoustical perspective?

    As a spring off of my audiophile thread, I had another point I wanted to ask about concerning the two channel and multi-channel preference.

    Ralph and I had an exchange a while back, and he stated that he loved his two channel rig because it was able to float images precisely in space, and it made him feel like the performers where "in the room".(Ralph correct me if I am wrong) with well recorded music. My friend who is also a two channel guy says exactly the same thing. As a matter of fact, almost everyone I know with a high quality two channel system as said this.

    My choice of multi-channel set ups is based on my love for the fact that you can also precisely float images but 360 degrees in space( not just 90-120 degrees for two channel), and it felt like "I was there" from a spatial perspective with well recorded music. Just about everyone I know with a quality multichannel setup has also said this.

    I feel like this is becoming a common theme between the two camps.

    The question is putting aside software amounts(more two channel music than multichannel music in most genre's of music) what is your favorite spatial acoustical perspective the "your are there perspective", or the "they are here" perspective.

    Gather around the cooler and discuss........
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  2. #2
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    With the Magneplanars and a good stereo recording the music has depth and dimension -- I love it. I've said before that Maggies and, I'd say, most good dipolars bring the musicians into the room with you.

    But wait! They are down the other end where the speakers are. Or it it's a big orchesteral work, it's like I'm standing at an entrance looking into the concert hall. By contrast, with good M/C (of which unfortunately I haven't many) I'm right in the middle of the hall, maybe 1st row, maybe a few rows back, depending on the recording; (I'm speaking of classical music particularly). But that's the difference between stereo and M/C.

    So my position with good recordings and good equipment, there is really no contest: M/C wins.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    I think that depends on the music. Something like the 5.1 SACDs of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon or Steely Dan's Two Against Nature are purposely situated with no particular "perspective" in mind, other than instruments and vocals and effects coming from multiple directions.

    Some of those perspectives are more about heavily anchoring the depth of field and better solidifying the imaging cues. Others are about separating instruments that sound like mush in the stereo mix, and placing in more separate spaces to gain greater clarity. Some work well, others not. But, a well done 5.1 mix can render an listening experience that stereo isn't capable of.

    On the flip side, there are live acoustical recordings like the SF Symphony's Mahler series. Classical 5.1 is always interesting because they try to convey a sense of space, but the individual recordings are done differently. With the SFS recordings, I've gone to many concerts at Davies Symphony Hall, so I know how it sounds from the audience perspective, having sat in many different locations (including 7th row for a recorded performance of Mahler's Symphony of a Thousand).

    The 5.1 recordings capture how that hall actually sounds far better than any of the two-channel recordings. And from having sat near the front, I can tell that the recording is trying to mimic the conductor position, since it's more of a forward location. The 5.1 track and properly positioned speakers can convey this quite well, even with a relatively modest system.

    And I think that point about the speaker positioning is uber crucial. As hypercritical as some two-channel setups can be, the positioning in a 5.1 setup requires even more attention. IMO, a lot of the negative comments about 5.1 arises from simply not having the speakers level matched, timed and positioned properly.

    For me, it comes down to a good recording and a good performance, and I'll let the musicians come to me.
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  4. #4
    Lurker Hyfi's Avatar
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    In general, I would say "They are here"

    I have been to way too many Live events that that I surely would not want to re-create. I would rather feel like the band is right over there in the corner.

    I do like the Chesky Recordings on the 10th Anniversary disk that demonstrate different venue types as well as thinking that Livingston Taylors breath and finger snaps in Grandma's Hands are happening right over there and not sound like all instruments were recorded in different rooms and mushed together for the final production.

    Chesky has a way to record awesome 2ch with Omni mics.
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  5. #5
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    They are here usually works better for me although there are some you are there recordings that are very good. My problem with many MC recordings is that you are there means the middle of the band. I have no desire to be on stage or be part of the band.
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  6. #6
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible View Post
    As a spring off of my audiophile thread, I had another point I wanted to ask about concerning the two channel and multi-channel preference.

    Ralph and I had an exchange a while back, and he stated that he loved his two channel rig because it was able to float images precisely in space, and it made him feel like the performers where "in the room".(Ralph correct me if I am wrong) with well recorded music. My friend who is also a two channel guy says exactly the same thing. As a matter of fact, almost everyone I know with a high quality two channel system as said this.
    That's essentially correct, but I would like to make two clarifications:

    1. First of all, I'm a firm believer that multi-channel is always superior with recordings of unamplified music where the space of a venue is captured. So long as you are comparing systems of equivalent performance - not necessarily price, the issue is a no brainer for me. Consequently, MC clearly is far more expensive to do right since you need twice the componentry. (I acknowledge that we disagree on this point) Hearing HP's "Super Maggie" system is quite impressive with his hand picked Telarc SACD sampler. He wrote liner notes for each band to help the listener understand the nature of how that recording exploited the capabilities of multi-channel. Naturally, it's a whole lot nicer when you can get a real time personalized lesson. I am far less impressed, however, with "doctored" ambience of inherently multi-tracked recordings like the perennial favorite, Dark Side of the Moon. Remember the gimmicky quadraphonic recordings of the 70s? I find that captured ambience is far superior to that which is artificially created.

    2. The "floating of images" effect to which I refer is not entirely determined by the channel count. Here I also refer to the level of resolution offered by the playback system. It is the ability of the system to allow you to hear deep into the mix and get layers of subtle cues missed by lesser gear - totally independent of the channel count. I hear more of Leona Lewis' vocal intonations (the underlying emotion) at home than I do at the IMAX even with their huge budget. She just doesn't sound as though she is standing there in the flesh singing in front of you as compared to my two channel system even if her voice is "enhanced" around the room with the MC mix.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible View Post
    My choice of multi-channel set ups is based on my love for the fact that you can also precisely float images but 360 degrees in space( not just 90-120 degrees for two channel), and it felt like "I was there" from a spatial perspective with well recorded music. Just about everyone I know with a quality multichannel setup has also said this.
    No debate there. That is most understandable since you engineer MC recordings. The unfortunate reality is that the overwhelming majority (98%) of the first five decades of music to which I listen was never captured that way. I'm not one who optimizes my system for a limited number of impressive "audiophile" recordings. Yeah, I've got a bunch of those, too.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible View Post
    The question is putting aside software amounts(more two channel music than multichannel music in most genre's of music) what is your favorite spatial acoustical perspective the "your are there perspective", or the "they are here" perspective.
    Such is really a good question since all recordings are one form of artifice or another. As for me, I would never want to replicate the live experience of hearing my favorite pop stars at the sports arena. Since you could never replicate the sense of space anyway and the resolution is truly dreadful, I tend towards the latter bias - they are here - given the limitations of the size of most rooms. Having said that, there are a number of exceptional recordings that make the walls of my listening room disappear. They are here in front of me, but in a larger space than the confines of my 26x15 room would suggest. Harry's phenomenal systems do that for quite a few merely stereo recordings. That's the level of resolution talking.

    Isn't it a wonderful thing that the Blu Ray format has allowed us to view blockbuster high budget super quality films made fifty years ago in a way that challenges the original? Film has always offered wonderful resolution even if the home based playback format hasn't been able to replicate it. Wouldn't it really be cool if that were the case with music as well? To hear your favorite recordings from the 50s, 60s, 70s - all without all the noise, compression, bandwidth limitations, etc in captured multi-channel.?

    Oh well. Back to the real world of most recorded music.

    rw

  7. #7
    Sgt. At Arms Worf101's Avatar
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    Well now... interesting question there pardner!

    When I got my first true "multi-channel" receiver in 2000, an Onkyo 787 I believe, I spent a LOOONG time switching back and forth between 2 channel and multi-channel formats. I was very confused as I was in totally uncharted territory. Finally, once I got a bigger and more sophisticated set up (primarily better speakers and a top of the line receiver) I went totaally 2 channel for music and I was VERY happy... until recently. As I said in recent post I discovered Donald F A G ens' solo work trilogy online and bought it. I, for the first time, listened to a format other than redbook. Hearing "I.G.Y." and "Snowbound" in 5.1 was a revelation. Wowsers! So now I alternate between the two.

    1. Two channel Modern recordings I use Onkyo "Pure Audio"

    2. Older 2 channel I use tweaked stereo output to fill in the blanks.

    3. Multi-channel I use the highest fidelity multi speaker format available, thus far that's 5.1 DTS.

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  8. #8
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    I'm kinda a plain vanilla kind of guy.

    I can say that I'll generally default to whatever mode the recording was made in.

    Up to recently, I had a universal player in my HT system feeding the MC analog inputs of my Denon 2802. As such, I was able to get a taste of true MC music and, on the whole, it was "OK. I had the ubiquitous DSOTM, a few SACD Living Stereo releases and borrowed a few others for a while.

    Meh... DSOTM was fun but once the basic effect wore off, it was nothing special. I'd use it if it was there but wouldn't miss it if it were gone. I will say that the center channel of the 50 year-old Living Stereo CD' was nice and shows that the recording technology definitely led the playback process. They still sound good.

    As for two channel, that's what I grew up with.

    Now, with the advent of a new (non-universal) Blu-ray player, I've moved the Denon universal player to a two channel secondary system and reinstalled my Marantz DVD player in the HT system and still play those dual discs in plain two channel there. I miss the center fill on the LS discs but I don't lose sleep over it. Were it there, I'd still be using and loving it.,

    As for artificially inducing multi-channel effects from a two channel source, I've never really liked that and feel it adds an artificial feeling to the music.

    I'll take plain two channel for $400, Alex.

    But, given a true MC source and a way to play it back, I'll go for that also. When in Rome....

  9. #9
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    reproducing the ambience of an actual recording space is quite enhancing in the reality realm. its truly amazing what you hear in dynaquad. of course it isnt as precise as 5.1 but satisfying just the same.

    as for out of the box, that can be done with two channels as evidenced by what the new rogersound labs sub/sat system routinely does. my friend likes the nearfield arrangement with most speakers and this one caused him to sell his maggie 1.7s.

    mostly i dont care what happens behind me but at times it can be fun. there is a moody blues stereo album that has a chirping sound that in dynaquad, circumscribes the room. tomita's recordings were more or less created for surround and do very nicely in dynaquad.

    i now have enough amplification channels and speakers to effect true 5.1 (and a pre-pro). i dont expect to be blown away. as it stands, ALL formats in my system (LP, CD, DVD, FM, open reel, and dvda) benefit from the dyna setup with no jockeying around.

    the rear channels are set to be barely audible on regular stereo but when info is in the rear, it goes there, especially on live recordings.

    call me old fashioned.
    ...regards...tr

  10. #10
    Forum Regular dwayne.aycock's Avatar
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    You marched in a drum and bugle corps. If yoy played in the horn line, you were used to the full resonance that can only be found in and around the line....in short, you cut your chops on full resonant sound that was live. Your understanding of sound has always been multi voice, multi channel. I hear music the same way. When I am listening to music, I usually run 5 or 7 channel audio and perfer to sit dead in the middle... like it was when I was in D&B too. Do you remember the old maxell tape guy "blown away". That is what Ilike my music to do for me.....blow mw away.

  11. #11
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hifitommy View Post
    reproducing the ambience of an actual recording space is quite enhancing in the reality realm. its truly amazing what you hear in dynaquad. of course it isnt as precise as 5.1 but satisfying just the same.

    as for out of the box, that can be done with two channels as evidenced by what the new rogersound labs sub/sat system routinely does. my friend likes the nearfield arrangement with most speakers and this one caused him to sell his maggie 1.7s.

    mostly i dont care what happens behind me but at times it can be fun. there is a moody blues stereo album that has a chirping sound that in dynaquad, circumscribes the room. tomita's recordings were more or less created for surround and do very nicely in dynaquad.

    i now have enough amplification channels and speakers to effect true 5.1 (and a pre-pro). i dont expect to be blown away. as it stands, ALL formats in my system (LP, CD, DVD, FM, open reel, and dvda) benefit from the dyna setup with no jockeying around.

    the rear channels are set to be barely audible on regular stereo but when info is in the rear, it goes there, especially on live recordings.

    call me old fashioned.
    Many years ago I had a Dynaquad unit and I basically agree with you comments. (I used mine with my Dynaco A25 fronts and A10 rears all driven by a Dynaco Stereo 80 amp.)

    The "goodness" of the resulting effect always depended on the recording, sometimes negligible sometime very good. If my understanding is correct, the Dynaquad worked based on the phasing between the two stereo channels; (simplistically speaking maybe), the system sends out of phase info to the rear channels.

    So if my understanding is correct, Dynaquad was eventually, (many years later), superceded by Dolby ProLogic that also extracts rear channel info using phase data. Of course ProLogic receivers use discrete, separate amplfiers for the rear channels, rather than just a stereo amp.

  12. #12
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    feanor:

    my original dynaquad consisted of four a25s. the initial playback really got my attention not only in spatiality but how the sound firmed up including the bass locking into the room. this is with speakers that as you know dont go to the center of the earth in frequency. in retrospect, the a10s may have worked just fine.

    my next approach was to stack the a25s (horizontally, tweeters inside) that worked fine and gave more impact due to the coupling of the woofers, with some EV 10" two ways in the rear and that setup remained in place for a long time.

    dynaquad can be simplified and diagrammed by showing a single strand lead coming from the left stereo channel going to the left rear speaker going into the (+), a strand from the left (-) to the (+) of the right and another strand from the right (-) back to the (+) of the right stereo channel. CAUTION! this can only be done with amplifiers and receivers in which common ground connections are acceptable.

    somewhere in the circuit a potentiometer should be connected to attenuate the rear level so as not to have the rear channel dominate the sound. that is to adjust the front to rear level by attenuating the rears.

    the signal that is out of phase left to right is forced to the rear circuit. what is out of phase with the stereo signal? reflected and reverberated sound that BELONGS in the rear. THANK YOU david hafler!

    dolby pro logic is exactly the same ambience extraction circuit at line levels (regular dynaquad is at amplifier speaker level) only with logic steering to enhance locations of rear images.

    one speakler works wonderfully in the car centered in the rear deck. i used a 5x7 jensen in my opel rallye in those days and it could be startlingly real sounding in the car.
    ...regards...tr

  13. #13
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwayne.aycock View Post
    You marched in a drum and bugle corps. If yoy played in the horn line, you were used to the full resonance that can only be found in and around the line....in short, you cut your chops on full resonant sound that was live. Your understanding of sound has always been multi voice, multi channel. I hear music the same way. When I am listening to music, I usually run 5 or 7 channel audio and perfer to sit dead in the middle... like it was when I was in D&B too. Do you remember the old maxell tape guy "blown away". That is what Ilike my music to do for me.....blow mw away.
    There is nothing like a good hornline blowing your face off in surround. Now that you mentioned this, I am going to listen to my ISOMike SACD called High Altitude Drums featuring the Blue Knights.
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  14. #14
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hifitommy View Post
    feanor:

    my original dynaquad consisted of four a25s. the initial playback really got my attention not only in spatiality but how the sound firmed up including the bass locking into the room. this is with speakers that as you know don't go to the center of the earth in frequency. in retrospect, the a10s may have worked just fine.
    ....

    dynaquad can be simplified and diagrammed by showing a single strand lead coming from the left stereo channel going to the left rear speaker going into the (+), a strand from the left (-) to the (+) of the right and another strand from the right (-) back to the (+) of the right stereo channel. CAUTION! this can only be done with amplifiers and receivers in which common ground connections are acceptable.

    somewhere in the circuit a potentiometer should be connected to attenuate the rear level so as not to have the rear channel dominate the sound. that is to adjust the front to rear level by attenuating the rears.

    the signal that is out of phase left to right is forced to the rear circuit. what is out of phase with the stereo signal? reflected and reverberated sound that BELONGS in the rear. THANK YOU david hafler!

    Dolby pro logic is exactly the same ambiance extraction circuit at line levels (regular dynaquad is at amplifier speaker level) only with logic steering to enhance locations of rear images.

    one speaker works wonderfully in the car centered in the rear deck. i used a 5x7 jensen in my opel rallye in those days and it could be startlingly real sounding in the car.
    HFT, as I recall (many years ago), the A10's worked fine at the rear.

    I sold the Dynaquad for reasons I don't remember except it might have had to do with the difficulty of placing the rear speakers, (still a problem for HT setups), and also because I gave away the A10's to my mother.

    I also recall that I tried some variation of the wiring you describe with a single rear speaker; the effect was efficacious though I don't recall that I used the setup for very long.

  15. #15
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    My flea powered SET's and full range single drivers only work well in two channel.

    I do crave concert videos like Diana Krall's "Live In Rio" in 5.1. The blu-ray version with DTS-HD is amazing even on my Best Buy close-out Athenas.

    I view the multi vs two channel as two dissimilar but not competitive ways to enjoy music. While I love driving my Mustang GT my wife's Mazda 3 is just as much fun but the sensory experience is far different.

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    I played in marching and concert orchestras in college and the trombone section is the worst seat in the house. You never get to hear the band as a whole.

  17. #17
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    I can see where multichannel would be a benefit in some situations and I have used it a time or two but for me I grew up playing in bands and have been to multiple small scale music shows all over my area and the music always is set up to come at you from the front and because of the acoustics of the place you do get a little from the walls ETC. So I mostly listen to 2 channel audio for that main reason. Every music show I have went to was a 2 channel affair as far as their amplification and speaker arrangement goes so why should I change it. On the flip side of that I have heard a couple of SACD recordings that the mixers did an excellent job or replicating the concert hall and that is cool to but most music is two channel so that is what I concentrate on.

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  18. #18
    Forum Regular michaelhigh's Avatar
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    I played french horn in grade school, junior high, highschool bands, drum and bugle corps (Belleville Black Knights, 12th place DCI 1973, 15th place 1974 IIRC) and in college as well, majoring in performance...it was only in the drum corps experience that I was positioned in the middle of a semi-circle, simulating the two-channel listening experience. Every other experience I was either off to one side or somewhere less than optimal. If I were to choose to be positioned in the middle or surrounded by musicians, I would prefer a surround sound set-up. I simulate this with double stereo in four corners, and I'm actually getting a QRX-5500A to see if I can simulate quad with the right gear if I can somehow locate it (I'm being realistic...I realize that quad carts and TT's aren't growing on trees, as aren't quad FM).
    Last edited by michaelhigh; 10-18-2011 at 12:31 AM.

  19. #19
    Stereo value > car value texlle's Avatar
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    All variables aside, namely overall cost and prevalence of mutli channel format recordings vs. stereo, i still prefer 2 channel. I do love both formats. Hell Freezes Over, Two Against Nature persuade me heavily, but the purist in me always goes back to 2-channel.
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  20. #20
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    michaelhigh-"to see if I can simulate quad"

    you may be able to accomplish this with qs/sq and with more modern processors using dolby pro logic or DPLII which are derived from what i use-dynaquad.

    see if you can find a used Quadaptor like:

    DYNACO DYNAQUAD PASSIVE 4 CHANNEL ADAPTOR | eBay

    VINTAGE DYNACO QD-1 QUADAPTOR DYNAQUAD SURROUND-SOUND | eBay

    Vintage Dynaco QD-1 Quadaptor Dynaquad System | eBay

    what dynaquad does is extract the reflected and reverberated sound from the stereo signal and put it in the rear, where it BELONGS. adjust it so you barely hear rear output in a conventional stereo recording. then put on a LIVE cut and you will understand why i use it on ALL of my formats even though i have enough of the proper equipment to do proper 5.1 surround.
    ...regards...tr

  21. #21
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    I have no desire to be on stage or be part of the band.

  22. #22
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DedroCepue View Post
    I have no desire to be on stage or be part of the band.
    Welcome to AR Forums, Dedro.

    I agree with you; I really don't care for a perspective that puts me in the middle of the performers.

    Dunno: maybe that's because I've never been a performer.

  23. #23
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    I've been a performer. IMO there's a big difference between performing and listening. When I listen I have no desire to be in the middle of the band or orchestra. When I'm at a concert, any concert I'm part of the audience. The audience is not on stage with the musicians.
    ARC SP9 MKIII preamp,VPI HW19jr, Rega RB300
    Marcof PPA1 head amp, Shure, Sumiko, Ortofon carts
    Marantz CD63SE CD,Yamaha DVD-S1800, MSB DAC
    Accuphase T101 tuner,Nakamichi LX-5, ZX-7 Teac V-7010
    Lexicon MC8 surround processor
    2 Adcom GFA-545,2 radically modified Dynaco MK3's,2 bridged Crown XLS-402, Paradigm X-30, Behringer CX2310, DSP1124P
    2 12" Transmission Line Subs (PASS DIY El-Pipe-O), Acoustat Spectra 22 ESL's (fronts), Acoustat Model 1 ESL's/SPW-1 Woofer (rears)

  24. #24
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    sylmar, ca. in beautiful so cal earthquake country
    Posts
    1,389
    ambience recovery such as dynaquad does NOT put you in the middle of the band like the DTS versoion of the eagles 'hell freezes over'. all the players are up front but the room sound surrounds you. quite satisfying.

    if there is something recorded on stereo in such a way that a sound comes from the rear, it will put it there but it wont sound unnatural. recordings done outside such as some of the scenes in NYPD Blue are starling in their realism.
    ...regards...tr

  25. #25
    AR Newbie Registered Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    2
    I never heard a 5.1 system as of yet that convinced me to go absolutely surround. Still enjoy my movies 2.0 with lots of joy and don't miss a thing (I think)

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