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post #61 of 71
I see, certainly sounds interesting but I wonder how many recordings are properly done in 5:1.
post #62 of 71

If you like classical music, opera and jazz, just about all of them. Rock is a little bit more hit and miss. Those are usually mixed more like movies than music.

post #63 of 71

with 5:1 it adds the third dimension... side to side soundstage and front to back phase too
5:1 is as great of an improvement over stereo as stereo was over mono. With mono, sound was one dimensional... coming from a single point. With stereo, you get two dimensions... a straight line from speaker to speaker. with 5:1 it adds the third dimension... side to side soundstage and front to back phase too. Ideally, an 9:1 system with high and low mains and rears would give you up and down phase as well. That would be true 3D sound. I'm sure that will eventually happen.

I have a quick nit to pick:

 

 

Quote:
 With mono, sound was one dimensional... coming  from a single point

A point is zero dimensional; thus, think of the sound as a scalar

 

Quote:
 With stereo, you get two dimensions... a straight line from speaker to speaker

A line is a one dimensional object. The origin of the sound can be controled along a single degree of freedom.

 

Quote:
 with 5:1 it adds the third dimension... side to side soundstage and front to back phase too

 

The 5.1 configuration allows sound to be located  in the plane, i.e. a two dimensional effect. Front/back and left/right are two degrees of freedom.

 

Like you said, speakers above and below would present a "3d" sound image.

 

I think it would be pretty neat to have a nice 5/7.1 system, although i could scarcely afford it. I just added the "1" to my powered monitors for 2.1 and now i need a good crossover which puts me far over budget. I can think of some other things that might help the sound more than 3 or 5 more speakers and would certainly be much more cost effective. And take up less desk space than a big receiver/ DSP!

 

 anyway, there's more to sound reproduction than just spatial cues. I think headphones offer an advantage in performance/ cost for reproducing details vs speakers since they dont have to be high powered and have good crossovers and multidriver design. Niavely, i expect new headphones to outperform speakers from the detail/frequency response/distortion perspective vs new speakers at the same price point; however , things in this hobby are often over priced so it's not a hard and fast rule. Price does not indicate the sound quality of an item (cables comes to mind) so just because something is expensive doesnt mean it will sound good. Honestly, the whole question of comparing two anonymous items only by their price on paper sums up everything wrong with the mentality on this forum.

 

Cheers

 

PS running the subwoofer while listening to my headphones with crossfeed is pretty satisfying.

My paradox headphones isolate pretty well, but have good low frequency extension and the sub adds the vibrations. It's still only 2.1, but it's very immersive.


Edited by ab initio - 3/23/14 at 12:42am
post #64 of 71
With speakers, the most important thing is getting a balanced response first. EQ and a good room are always the best way to get great sound out of a speaker system. If the response is balanced, the detail and definition of the bass is just as good as headphones without having to deal with mid bass and 1 to 3kHz bumps that are typically used to make headphones more full and detailed.

Once you have a good pair of mains, the next best thing to do to improve a speaker system is to add a sub so the mains don't have to work as hard pushing out frequencies that require a lot of power and cone real estate to pull off.

At that point, jumping to 5:1 is an even bigger leap forward in sound quality. But it throws you back to the beginning again when it comes to EQ and balancing. It can also open up a new can of worms when it comes to room treatment. The advantage is the huge leap forward in dimensionality and size of soundstage I outlined above.

I don't see much point to 7:1 unless your room is VERY large and you find it difficult to get fronts and rears to mesh. But for music, that shouldn't be a problem, because the rears are basically just ambience. I think 7:1 is more for home theater where you want to place off screen sounds out in the middle of the audience.

Speakers can be expensive, they can require a bit of space, and they can be very very difficult to properly EQ and balance. But once you've done that and built a perfectly calibrated 5:1 system, headphones are like toys, and the only thing better is live performers in front of you.

Few people have heard a 5:1 system designed for music playback though. Most of the surround installations are goosed for Home Theater application. I started with music reproduction first and foremost and then just added the screen, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that while a home theater surround system doesn't make a very good music listening system, a 5:1 music listening system makes a fantastic home theater setup.

It took me thirty years to finally get the listening room I want, but at this point it's damn near perfect.
Edited by bigshot - 3/23/14 at 2:26am
post #65 of 71
By the way, in a small room, like a bedroom without a bed, I think it would be very possible to put together a 2:1 system for $1,000 that would blow headphones away. Add another grand and I think I could throw together a pretty doggone good 5:1 system that would be an audio version of a holodeck. I've learned a lot through trial and error building my own system. There isn't a lot of info out there on surround music systems. I had to figure it all out for myself.
Edited by bigshot - 3/23/14 at 2:39am
post #66 of 71

If you ever feel up to it you should make a thread detailing how to get that done properly. I'd be interested in reading through.

post #67 of 71
I've kinda told it in bits and pieces in different threads, but people don't seem to be receptive to it. Either they take the position that headphones are better than speakers, or they are dead set on two channel recordings being played back "pure" with no equalization or processing. It's hard to get across the impact 5:1 can give music when most people haven't ever heard 5:1 done right for music.

If folks are interested, I'd be happy to kind of consolidate my notes into a single thread though.
post #68 of 71

I'm curious to try it out, I think others might too when they understand that it isn't "surround" per say, which is what I thought it was.

post #69 of 71
OK. I'll start pulling together my theories and I'll create a thread for it. It might take a bit though. i'm recovering from surgery and the pain killers are making me a dimwit. I'll be better very soon.
post #70 of 71

Great, take your time, hope the recovery goes well.

post #71 of 71

Looking forward to your notes bigshot!

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