It's a bit uncanny and/or coincidental how I seem to be learning a little more about your chosen profession every day, Wilkes. A while back, I forwarded my suspicion that you were pretty much in new, almost unchartered territory with your work involving multi-surround. Seems my suspicions were correct. It [bold]is[/bold] a new field we don't ofter hear or read about, and not since the advent of High-Resolution Digital Audio, have we (really) been exposed to it, other than with Dolby DD-5.1 or DTS dvd-video movie soundtracks. I thought you might find this (short, edited) piece from 'The Absolute Sound' interesting. It [bold]does[/bold] confirm what I suspected earlier, -- that surround-sound music mastering is a very new field indeed. (See? I [bold]told[/bold] you, you were a 'Pioneer'!) The piece was written by a music reviewer as he was about to crack open a new bunch of hi-res music discs...... After listening to the recordings evaluated here, and many that aren't, I've come to the conclusion that the art of engineering multi-channel sound remains yet in it's infancy. And I dont believe that many of the record companies are doing us any favor in failing to describe the surround techniques you're going to encounter on their discs. For one thing, with ...[a few notable exceptions]... , and some of the most recent multichannel recordings from the Big Boys, many so-called "surround" issues are simply remixes of eight (or more) track masters. That is, they were not specifically conceived to make the most of the surround experience. That some of them do ... is a tribute to the intelligence of the remix producers and engineers. [Take a bow, Neil !] Still, you never really will know, necessarily, how some of these discs are meant to be heard. Unless there is a good cause for it, I don't see the point in remixing just to put instruments or voices in the rear speakers (as Decca has done [with].....). We also have the tantalizing prospect of hearing some of the last century's Golden Age recordings in their three-channel originals... And I regret that certain three-channel originals....[he quotes some]... couldn't have been engineered for a straight transfer of the master tapes, despite the care and skill with which these, and [some other] old Quad recordings have been rejuvinated. Just because we have six channels to play with doesn't mean we always have to use them. There is also a lack of standardization when it comes to the deployment of the channels and with certain exceptions almost no recording notes [are provided] to let you know how to adjust the levels of the respective channels. [For example] Telarc lets you know it uses the so-called subwoofer channel to carry ambient information; Chesky, on the other hand, with its unique system of encoding, tells you *squat*. Ditto for Columbia and most of the others. "They think it's too expensive to insert a sheet of notes with the discs," according to one well-placed guy in the industry. It seems to me that this kind of corporate penny-pinching is antithetical to the promotion of a new recording process, and certainly not in the best interests of the music lover or audiophile. I [had] thought of giving our readers the settings I used for the most natural playback of the discs under discussion, but thought again when I came to the conclusion that no two [surround-sound] listeners were likely to have the same spatial distribution of their speakers or even similar room acoustic chacteristics. [End of quoted Review] All in all, quite an interesting piece, methinks. Multichannel music-audio still seems a relatively new consumer idea - and one fraught with more than a few 'black magic' misconceptions. (In both the mastering end and the home-user setup end). Quizz For Today: What musician was it who was rumoured to have said, "If God had meant for us to hear multichannel sound, he would have given us 5.1 ears." a) Brittany Spears b) 'Boy George' of The Culture Club c) Paul McCartney d) Ludwig Van Beethoven e) U2's Bono f) Johanne Sebastian Bach g) Black Sabbath's 'Ozzy' Osbourne ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- If you answered [bold]"d"[/bold], you are probably correct (hell, I have no idea, as this was just a trick question), but ol' Ludwig was reported to have said this in 1822 just after he bought his new Pioneer surround-sound DVD player, and discovering that his hearing was all shot to hell. Have a nice day!