Stuck with stereo

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Stuck with stereo
Are we stuck with stereo? Wouldn't multi-channel sound be a step up when it comes to immersing ourselves in music? There are certainly advantages to 4-channel or 5-channel music recordings though rarely is realism one of their benefits. It certainly could be. In the few instances where the rear 2-channels of a 4-channel music recording have been used to capture the ambience behind the listener, the degree of realism is many times magnified. Yet, the vast majority of surround sound recordings place everything but ambience on those two channels. We find other instruments, voices, whatevers, seemingly coming out of natural space as if we're in the middle of the group rather than a listener in the audience. Perhaps if recording engineers had paid more attention to creating the illusion of being present during the recording we'd not have wound up with only two channels to reproduce realism. I guess the temptation to use the rear channels for "something meaningful" outweighed the chance to merely bring realism to home audio—and that was perhaps a wise decision. Can you imagine asking the average person to buy two more channels of audio just so it can sound more real? It would have been a Godsend for us audiophiles, but a disaster for the average buyer of home audio equipment.
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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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