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In Reply to: Re: Since you asked... posted by Chris from Lafayette on January 4, 2007 at 17:51:27:
Chris - My goal is simply to hear great music. I don't literally hear the rear information *behind me* (nor do I care), but I certainly hear a facsimile of the acoustic space the recording was made in (I'm using "facsimile" because that's all we're getting anyway, unless we're at the concert - Also, although I don't hear info behind me, I do have a feeling of being "enveloped" by the music). Also, my point in saying there were many things involved in musical enjoyment for me was *partly* because adding extra channels (and all that entails) naturally raises additional problems in getting some of those other things right.
One additional thing, that might help you understand my perspective: I have friends who are jazz musicians. I get to see and hear them play in a lot of different venues, both amplified and unamplified. Sometimes that "venue" is simply someone's living room. In the latter case, clearly the size is more similar to the space in which I listen to my stereo, i.e. more similar than being in a big hall. I have never found the absence of bigger venue ambience or hall information to be something I miss. In fact, the advantage of hearing more clearly some of the other things I mentioned in my previous post more than makes up for that.
****"Sometimes that "venue" is simply someone's living room. In the latter case, clearly the size is more similar to the space in which I listen to my stereo, i.e."****
I do agree. I was in a "living room venue" with a live jazz band over the weekend (see comments below about the "New York Sessions" recordings) and I thought about then what you have shared here. The side/rear information is not *as* critical, but it is there nonetheless, especially in my venue the living room opened out to the entry hallway. Hopefully, any multi-channel recording of that type of venue would employ the subtlest of rear channel participation
****"Finally, just want to emphasis that this is my *perspective*. I'm not trying to say I'm right by listening to 2-channel, and that you are wrong for listening to multi".****
However, if a multi-channel listener has her/his system set up properly and if that same system is also used for two channel listening (by definition the two channel system would also be set up properly) then they are in a great position to compare the two layers and decide which one sounds the most like the real thing to them. A two-channel only listener does not have that choice.
I'll take issue with "However, if a multi-channel listener has her/his system set up properly and if that same system is also used for two channel listening (by definition the two channel system would also be set up properly) then ..." as well.
I'm a big fan of more absorption (vs. diffusion) in my setup. I like my MC room to be as dead as possible without being uncomfortable. I have all direct radiating front ported speakers ... For MC I'm certainly not a fan of live end dead end or dipoles or bipoles ..., tho lots of people get great sound with them in a stereo system.
Also, for example, in my system with MC material you are totally immersed in a very deep soundstage: you don't even think about how deep the soundstage is... When I use stereo material the soundstage is foreshortened by my front wall. With my equipment I could pull the speakers further into the room to make the stereo soundstage better, but that would shrink my 20' ITU circle for MC (since my rear speakers can't move back.)
Don't get me wrong my stereo isn't bad, but I sure would have set things up differently if I wanted it to be better and didn't care about MC.
OK. I'm confused. What specifically do you take issue with in my statement (that I slightly modified below). If I used the word "optimal" instead of "proper" would that do it?
Do you use your multi-channel system as the primary system for two-channel listening? It sounds like you have "tilted" your system toward multi-channel over two-channel listening. Would you characterize that as being a correct assumption on my part?
Are your 5 primary speakers equidistant from the listening position?
Does your system double as a Home theater system? (That is definitely *not* part of the equation I was illustrating).
Sorry about all the questions.
Well, I read a part of your statement (perhaps erroneously) as "If your system is setup properly for MC then it's properly setup up for two channel." I further inferred (once again perhaps erroneously) that you also meant to imply that a system that's optimized for MC is also optimized for two channel. That I couldn't agree with. Now that I re-read your post I possibly assumed to much.
Anyway to answer your questions:
I listen almost always to MC. I still enjoy my thousands of CDs, but more these days I listen to single tracks from them vs. whole MC SACDs.
I certainly have done almost everything I could to optimize for MC even if it meant that stereo had to suffer. Tho when I could make stereo better without compromising MC I did that. The biggest exception is that my front speakers cost at least twice as much as my rears or center :)
As I mentioned I do have a 20' ITU circle (including the sub) which implies that they are equal distant...
My system does include a 50" plasma which compromises my center speaker height, but I choose to live with that since we do enjoy Tivos and DVDs.
Here's a post with a summary of my room and a link to some (slightly out of date) pictures of my room: http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/hirez/messages/224992.html
My system description: http://cgi.audioasylum.com/systems/3367.html
Ted: I recently dropped a chunk of change on a new Krell EVO system (SACD player, preamp, stereo amp), Martin Logan Summits and some inexpensive Nordost Valhalla speaker cable. My partner thinks I'm crazy, but I keep telling her I'm a paradigm of restraint compared to many audiophiles. Would you mind if I show her your systems page to prove my point? TIA.
P.S. How can I incorporate my 20-year old 19" Toshiba TV into my audio system if it has no RCA jacks? My adamant refusal to mix audio and video may be an ideological anachronism, but I'm stickin' to it.
Don't forget about MikeL's system :) http://cgi.audioasylum.com/systems/663.html
did you notice that Mike's system is 2-channel and he keeps his audio separate from video? Of course you did! :)
He's thinking about MC, but isn't fully decided at this point. His room was designed to support MC and he has the 6 channel DAC6... I don't think he's going to acquire 2 more Rockports tho :)
OK. I think I have a good picture now. Actually, at some point I think the topic of in depth look at multi-channel set-up is worthy of its own thread.
I took the approach that what's best for two-channel (mostly for depth of soundstage and imaging, etc.) is also best for multi-channel (if, of course, the center and rears are also set up in accordance to ITU requirements and not impeded by furniture or what not). There are specific requirements for front speaker placement (when used for stereo) that I was not going to mess with. (They work best 82" from the wall out on the floor). Fortunately, the room can accommodate both (optimum two-channel, given the specific placement requirements for the front speakers as well as all the other MC speakers). This was made unquestionably easier because I didn't have a TV between the speakers. (Believe me I had to fight hard to keep a monster TV out of the room). So, the two-channel speakers are absolutely optimized (with respect to placement). I did compromise a bit on placement of the rears but nothing to *materially* compromise the performance of the multi-channel sound and they still meet minimum ITU placement specs. All speakers are equidistant (9' 4") from the listening position. So even though the two-channel is performing at its absolute zenith the multi-channel whips it every time. And if I could improve the performance of the two-channel (there may be some crossover tweaks I can make) the multi-channel system would automatically also be improved.
Robert C. Lang
The size of my ITU circle was constrained primarily by the width of the room and secondarily by the position of the door just beyond the right rear speaker. After putting the center speaker as close to the front wall as possible I calculated the listening position from the rears and center then placed the front left and front right. Since it sounded great in MC I then left it alone :)
Even tho we took different routes for calculating speaker placement, my more point was that people claim to get value from other things (e.g. dipoles, rear firing tweeters, room lenses, ...) for stereo that I just don't believe in for MC. This was more where I was coming from when I was talking about optimizing for MC vs. stereo.
As I read your system description I chuckled: just today we were out looking for a place to get custom cut slabs of granite or marble :)
In any case as I've learned there are many ways to a great system. I know you enjoy yours like we enjoy ours.
****However, if a multi-channel listener has her/his system set up properly and if that same system is also used for two channel listening (by definition the two channel system would also be set up properly) then they are in a great position to compare the two layers and decide which one sounds the most like the real thing to them.****
I have a couple of "problems" with this: first, I don't agree that the two channel system would be set up properly *by definition*. I'm assuming set up includes room treatment, speaker placement, listening position, etc. Second, re what sounds most like the real thing: each person, of course, would be free to use there own criteria, and "like the real thing" is not necessarily what I would use - i.e. *if* by "like the real thing" one means rear hall ambience, etc. Third - and this raises a new issue - let's say for x amount of money I can put together a 2-channel or multi-channel system. I would choose the purity, texture, timbral accuracy, etc. of the two-channel system every time, *if* I had to sacrifice those to get back-of-hall information. Again, just my personal preference. I don't see a right or wrong here; and, I suppose, if I had unlimited money and could build my own room and system, I would make a serious effort at multi-channel that would match (or exceed) my two-channel in every way. I certainly have not heard that multi-channel system yet, but that's not to say it isn't possible.
I just want to say that after my exchange with Ted and after thinking about it some more my *by definition" statement is clearly not correct and you were correct in calling me on it. I do believe that if you can squeeze the very best two-channel out of your system and at the same time place the center and rears where they are "suppose" to be in relation to the mains that both (two channel and multi-channel) can sound their best and that then both can be fairly compared. But Ted has reminded me that that is a *tall* order in many/most situations. Anyway, thanks for your ears.
Robert C. Lang
Thanks for your follow-up message. Ted's example of room treatment is an example of the type of thing I was thinking of. It has been enjoyable conversing with you. It's great when these forums serve as a place for us to share information, points of view, etc - as opposed to when people get into a false right vs wrong arguments. Thanks!
When you quoted me and wrote **"like the real thing"*** you left off two very key words, *to them*. The quote should read "like the real thing to them". That addresses the entire issue you had about "personal preference" which I was aware of and accounted for in my response.
Regarding the "by definition" issue, it is true a properly set up two channel system is not spelled out as a specific requirement for good multi-channel in ITU specifications. But it is certainly implied. I methodically set up my multi-channel system, including the use of pink noise measurements and in the process I made my two-channel system, around which my multi-channel was built, the best it has ever sounded. To be sure, I should have accomplished this long before I upgraded to multi-channel, but the recommendations that pink noise measurements be used to optimize a multi-channel system and the specific ITU requirements that state that all speakers be equidistant from the listener "forced" me to optimize my two-channel system in the process.
Sure there are compromises to be made along the way, with any system, two-channel or multi-channel. But given the constraints of these compromises the two-channel portion of a multi-channel system (again assuming that you plan to do serious two-channel listening) should sound as good as it would if you had no multi-channel set-up. But even slight compromises in favor of multi-channel over two channel in a given system should not materially interfere with the listenerís decision to decide which one s/he prefers in a direct comparison.
One thing I am patently clear about, it is hell of a lot easier and definitive to make comparisons between multi-channel and two channel than between "Redbook and SACD" or between "SACD and vinyl", between "PCM and DSD", between Redbook and vinyl", "amp A and amp B, and on and on, that listeners in this forum and elsewhere seem to be able to accomplish with an absolute certainty. And they make these comparisons involving different systems on different days and sometimes different decades! Making a comparison in a single system between multi-channel and two-channel, in which are *clear* differences, with the convenience of the brilliantly implemented two layer SACD, is a slam dunk.
So, I will say again: if a multi-channel listener has her/his system set up properly and if that same system is also used for two channel listening then they are in a great position to compare the two layers and decide which one sounds the most like the real thing *to them*. A two-channel only listener does not have that choice.
Your issue regarding costs and choices, I agree with 100%.
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