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Thread: 5.1 surround music

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jinsai View Post
    I still have yet to hear a surround mix that I preferred to the stereo.

    Maybe I'm like the mono old guard that doesn't get the appeal of stereo. If there's anyone in here who can really swear that they have found a surround version that truly blows away the original album mix, I would love to hear it, no matter what genre of music it is, or whatever I think about the artist.

    I'd be interested to check out the surround mixes of King Crimson... is there an album that translates particularly well?
    Try Larks' Tongues in Aspic.

    Speaking of Steven Wilson's brilliant remixes of classic albums, he's tackling the debut Roxy Music album for its upcoming Super Deluxe reissue.
    Last edited by botley; 05-02-2015 at 11:27 AM.

  2. #32
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    And Red, though I haven't heard the DVD mix of it and the Blu, as part of the Road to Red box set is going to put you back an arm or leg.

    I really prefer the surround mix of Dark Side of the Moon now. In stereo it's glorious of course, but it's nice to hear everything in finer detail.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jinsai View Post
    If there's anyone in here who can really swear that they have found a surround version that truly blows away the original album mix, I would love to hear it, no matter what genre of music it is, or whatever I think about the artist.
    I think I'm with you, Jinsai. Growing up, my dad had a KILLER stereo system - I can't remember his system's specs, but it was absurd; without knowing the gauge offhand, the speaker cable running from the amp to each speaker was probably 3/8 of an inch in diameter. It was LOUD, but also crisp and clear. I distinctly remember listening to DSOTM on that system as a spiritual/religious experience in my pre-teen years. They would blast Floyd, The Doors, and Bowie on heavy rotation. And it was incredible.

    Fast forward to now, and my fiance and I have a dedicated home theater room in our new home. We have 5 of these already wired and set into baffle boxes in the ceiling, and are pushing them with this Denon receiver. I'm currently eyeing having the low end carried by a powered Klipsch sub to round it out.

    Long and the short of it, we are going to have a killer surround system. We're set to move in soon, and one of my first projects after settling in and moving will be to, meticulously, set up our system. I know I am not going to have the same sound experience as I did in my youth listening to my dad's stereo system, but I am damn sure curious to see how DSOTM (and TDS) sounds in 5.1.

    Will report back.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jinsai View Post
    I still have yet to hear a surround mix that I preferred to the stereo.

    Maybe I'm like the mono old guard that doesn't get the appeal of stereo. If there's anyone in here who can really swear that they have found a surround version that truly blows away the original album mix, I would love to hear it, no matter what genre of music it is, or whatever I think about the artist.

    I'd be interested to check out the surround mixes of King Crimson... is there an album that translates particularly well?
    Discipline is also really fantastic in surround, given the layered nature of the sound. but steven wilson has done a fabulous job with all of the KC 5.1 mixes. and his own music, which has all been released in surround and stereo simultaneously, is INCREDIBLE.

    björk in surround is quite an experience, too. i say this as i'm listening to homogenic on vinyl, but her music is like the perfect thing to be put into surround.

  5. #35
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    For those with more experienced ears, which is the best format; SACD or Blu-ray?

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    Quote Originally Posted by eversonpoe View Post

    björk in surround is quite an experience, too. i say this as i'm listening to homogenic on vinyl, but her music is like the perfect thing to be put into surround.
    I have Homogenic and medulla in surround but can't find anything else without it being stupidly expensive

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by onthewall2983 View Post
    For those with more experienced ears, which is the best format; SACD or Blu-ray?
    Actually, the sound difference between the two is incredibly tiny. DSD (the sound format that SACD uses) has a different structure than the PCM signal that's CD, DVD and Blu-ray (1-bit/2.8224MHz, holy shit), yet there's not much with DSD that you can't do with the good ol' 24-bit/96kHz (or even 48kHz) PCM that Blu-ray can utilize in stereo and surround. Plus, SACD is a cumbersome format, as you'll need an expensive universal player (or an old PlayStation 3) to play them. There are many ways to listen to DSD on your computer (I use foobar2000 with the foo_sacd plugin), but, even there, the stream is either converted to 24/88 PCM or requires a DAC to be decoded as it is.

    After all, if the music was made in PCM in the first place, there's no point in claiming its SACD transfer sounds better than its DVD-A/Blu-ray counterpart. For example, the Downward Spiral SACD and DVD-A have the same 2.0/5.1 mixes dumped inside them (though the SACD also has the bonus tracks in hi-res stereo). I'll be forever grateful that Steven Wilson never touched the SACD format.

  8. #38
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    SACD is great for capturing analogue recordings and mixes, especially vintage ones. Not as many surround mixes exist in analogue (although I do own some, and they sound tremendous on SACD), and anyway the Blu-ray Audio format does a fine job with high-res audio too. Thankfully, it seems to have supplanted the truly cumbersome DVD-Audio format entirely.

    But there are still some excellent audiophile releases being issued on SACD, including some interesting vintage Quadrophonic surround mixes coming out on Hybrid SACDs from the Audio Fidelity label. Plus they come with a really well-mastered standard CD layer that can easily be ripped, if you want to have the standard stereo mix on other devices.

    Point is that both formats have their strengths — and you can now buy SACD players quite cheaply on the second-hand market as well as nifty Blu-ray players from the big box stores.
    Last edited by botley; 05-02-2015 at 11:01 PM.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by wizfan View Post
    There are many ways to listen to DSD on your computer (I use foobar2000 with the foo_sacd plugin), but, even there, the stream is either converted to 24/88 PCM or requires a DAC to be decoded as it is.
    It should be 24-bit/176.4kHz, provided your soundcard can handle that sample rate.

    As far as DSD playback via foobar2000/JRiver, and for computers in general nowadays, 1-bit DSD is converted to 64-bit PCM at 1/8th the sample rate. This results in DSD1 @ 64-bit/352.8kHz and DSD2 @ 64-bit/705.6kHz before being downsampled by a soundcard/DAC/etc.
    Last edited by Jon; 05-03-2015 at 04:27 PM. Reason: added "nowadays"

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by GibbonBlack View Post
    I have Homogenic and medulla in surround but can't find anything else without it being stupidly expensive
    ah, i have the Surrounded box set which has Debut - Drawing Restraint 9 (i still haven't listened to drawing restraint 9, admittedly).

  11. #41
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    My absolutely favorite 5.1 album is The Fragile.

    ...wait a minute

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by eversonpoe View Post
    ah, i have the Surrounded box set
    Lucky git!

  13. #43
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    The first few Björk albums from Surrounded aren't that great surround-wise. If memory serves me right, the good stuff starts from Vespertine (which was the first to be actually mixed in surround during its production phase, I think).

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by wizfan View Post
    The first few Björk albums from Surrounded aren't that great surround-wise. If memory serves me right, the good stuff starts from Vespertine (which was the first to be actually mixed in surround during its production phase, I think).
    from what i remember when i first listened through them, everything sounded pretty great. i don't really like debut as an album, but it certainly sounded cool! post and homogenic didn't sound any less fantastic than vespertine, and i don't think that vespertine was mixed in surround until the surrounded box set came about. there was never a released surround mix of it before then, so i'm fairly certain they didn't work on it during the production process.

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by eversonpoe View Post
    from what i remember when i first listened through them, everything sounded pretty great. i don't really like debut as an album, but it certainly sounded cool! post and homogenic didn't sound any less fantastic than vespertine, and i don't think that vespertine was mixed in surround until the surrounded box set came about. there was never a released surround mix of it before then, so i'm fairly certain they didn't work on it during the production process.
    Surrounded was a box set mainly for "the rest of the world", because Europe got the 2004 SACD reissues (Vespertine included).

    EDIT: This sa-cd.net article from 2004 briefly mentions the reissues.
    Last edited by Jon; 05-04-2015 at 06:43 PM.

  16. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    (Vespertine included).
    Stupid prices

  17. #47
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    Also of note: Surrounded uses the DVD-Video format in lossy DTS 96/24. Vespertine and Medúlla were the only albums to be released in lossless surround formats (both on DVD-A and SACD), while the rest of the SACD releases were cancelled due to low demand. Volta, the last Björk album to be mixed in surround, was also released as DVD-Video in DTS 48/24.

    Vespertine's DVD-Audio was released around the same time as the CD, with the SACD coming three years later. So, yeah, it was mixed in surround way before Surrounded came out.

  18. #48
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    I've been interested in 5.1 mixes ever since I discovered Audition had a Surround Encoder. I don't know how I'm going to be able to do it since my room isn't the best suited for mounted speakers but I really want to do a 5.1 mix...

    Now what makes a 5.1 mix; the drums? the sounds, the bass; it's such a mystery to me. 5.1 is easy when it comes to TVs and Movies but when it comes to music; it's hard to make it sound good without making it sound excessive.

  19. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZRFTS View Post
    I've been interested in 5.1 mixes ever since I discovered Audition had a Surround Encoder. I don't know how I'm going to be able to do it since my room isn't the best suited for mounted speakers but I really want to do a 5.1 mix...

    Now what makes a 5.1 mix; the drums? the sounds, the bass; it's such a mystery to me. 5.1 is easy when it comes to TVs and Movies but when it comes to music; it's hard to make it sound good without making it sound excessive.
    there are a few different approaches to surround mixing. one of the simplest, as can be heard on the Kind Of Blue 5.1 mix, is to make it sound like you are in a room, literally surrounded by the musicians. it's an interesting way to do it, and it doesn't sit well with everyone, but it can be a good way to start out and practice mixing in surround.

  20. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by eversonpoe View Post
    there are a few different approaches to surround mixing. one of the simplest, as can be heard on the Kind Of Blue 5.1 mix, is to make it sound like you are in a room, literally surrounded by the musicians. it's an interesting way to do it, and it doesn't sit well with everyone, but it can be a good way to start out and practice mixing in surround.
    (I love jazz)

    You can also turn off the 2 back surround speakers for 'Kind Of Blue' if you want to "simulate" the original 3-track recordings.

  21. #51
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    my favourite of all the surround mixing approaches is the "enhanced stereo mix" technique, where the front LR are mostly the same as the stereo mix, and the back LR channels are used for the extra layers and effects – basically, the Steven Wilson approach. (TDS also)

    i really hate the "everything everywhere, idgaf" approach though. ugh

  22. #52
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    So, I learnt a fun technique to listen to 5.1 music files using headphones. There are countless "virtual surround" stuff out there, but an interesting one is actually a plug-in for foobar2000 called Dolby Headphone. It works as a DSP filter and it does a great job at mixing down 5.1 files in stereo and you can even use it to convert them into stereo, and boom! You have DH-encoded stereo files. I listened to The Residents' Eskimo with this technique and... holy shit, it works.

    If you feed it files whose samplerate surpasses 48kHz, though, you will have to add the SoX resampler first in the plugin chain so it converts everything to the samplerates DH supports.

  23. #53
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    Listened to most of the quad mix of Wish You Were Here this past week, and was pretty blown away. I hadn't realized the differences between it and the stereo version, and thus the 5.1 mix since they're of equal length. So now I'm pretty obsessed with quad mixes of other albums now.

    Question: What genres are rather under-represented in hi-rez or surround sound, that you think would be perfect for the format? I think there's a lot of shoegaze and post-rock stuff that would be perfect for example.

  24. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by onthewall2983 View Post
    Listened to most of the quad mix of Wish You Were Here this past week, and was pretty blown away. I hadn't realized the differences between it and the stereo version, and thus the 5.1 mix since they're of equal length. So now I'm pretty obsessed with quad mixes of other albums now.

    Question: What genres are rather under-represented in hi-rez or surround sound, that you think would be perfect for the format? I think there's a lot of shoegaze and post-rock stuff that would be perfect for example.
    Yes. Also, some trip-hop that's bass-heavy, effects-laden, full of reverb. Massive Attack's Mezzanine would kill in 5.1.

  25. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by eversonpoe View Post
    ah, i have the Surrounded box set which has Debut - Drawing Restraint 9 (i still haven't listened to drawing restraint 9, admittedly).
    I just found a copy of it for £60. I'm a very happy guy today

  26. #56
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    I just heard God Only Knows by The Beach Boys in DTS. That's quite something

  27. #57
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    I'd love to get into this more, but I just don't have the set up for it. I tried with a beginner's surround sound all-in-one system and it basically sucked. Mind you my living room was really not a good layout or decor for it either (hard wood flooring). Maybe one day...

  28. #58
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    I recently bought three surround releases from Bowie:

    Ziggy Stardust on SACD (originally from 1972, this SACD came out in 2003)
    David Live on DVD audio (originally from 1974, this remastered surround release came out in 2005)
    Stage on DVD audio (originally from 1975, this remastered surround release came out in 2005)

    All of them are amazing!

  29. #59
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    The Eagles' Hotel California SACD and Fragile by Yes came in today. My preferred method of purchasing 5.1 music is to make sure they're albums I otherwise know by heart in stereo. It makes the little differences in the sound you can hear in a good mix all the more special.

    I've gotten quite a bit more since I last posted. Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits, Birds of Fire by the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Miles Davis' In a Silent Way just to name a few.

  30. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jinsai View Post
    I still have yet to hear a surround mix that I preferred to the stereo.
    Bingo. They just seem real gimmicky to me.

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