So I just finished watching the grammys with 5.1 audio and I got to thinking
So everyone pretty much listens to music in stereo. Understandable...2 ears, 2 headphones, 2 channel music etc. But surround sound music has been
around forever! There have been mixes in quad(4 channel) since the 80s. But how come this format never catches on? Lots of people have surround setups
for movies! Many of the new DVD players can play these albums!
My question is this. Do you guys listen to music in surround? Does it interest you? Have you ever heard any albums in surround? Why do you think what
seems to me like a logical progression in media and technology, can't get off the ground?
Good question. I have listened to some music in surround sound, but I have never found it particularly interesting.
I think one reason this has not caught on is the complexity that is related to it. With movies it seems obvious, this sound should come from this
direction. But with music not so much, it is a whole layer of additional thought and complexity put onto to the work.
The second reason I think this has not caught on is because of people like me who have never found it to be a huge addition. When I listen to music I
listen to it like it is inside my head. Having 5.1 in music kinda makes me feel more distant to it. The reason being is if you have tones that are
coming from every which direction, with a lot of variation. Well it forces me to realize that I am in fact hearing this, and not just focusing on it
inside my mind.
I am not saying there can't be good 5.1. I am sure there is even music you can only truly appreciate in 5.1. But in general I think that 5.1 really
adds little, and only forces me to realize that I am listening to it and not just experiencing it. (if that makes much sense)
in contrast I think with movies 5.1 adds LOTS...the reason being is that you also have a lot of visual stimulation. Your external sources of
stimulation are obvious, and because of that I think it is important to try and make them as immersible as possible. But with music you really can
just lose that stimulation and fall back into your own mind.