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Do we all hear the same

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Thank you for your comments. I agree that properly produced surround sound can "succeed in transforming your listenteng space into the illusion of the live venue". Unfortunately, very few such recordings do it right. I have some of Ray Kimber's IsoMike recordings that have great surround with only the hall ambience in the rear and a pair of omnis up-front in the IsoMike stereo configuration, facing the musicians. But I still find most multichannel classical to be multi-miked, with artificial reverb in the rear channels, and still too many with actual program content in the back - Yeccchh!


I disagree completely about most classical recordings from companies like Channel Classics, BIS, Pentatone, Chandos, Harmonia Mundi, RCO Live (Concertgebouw), Telarc, Boston Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, etc., etc. If the Mch system is properly and carefully set up, the surround channels disappear as discrete sound sources. You do not know they are there until you switch back to sterero, where everything collapses and the sense of the hall is vanishingly diminished. This is true on 98% of the classical recordings I own on my system and on those of my Mch-oriented friends.


There are the occasional recordings, like the Berlioz Requiem, where instruments surrounding you are as the composer intended and how the work has been performed live since its premiere at the Invalides. Also, a very few recordings, like the Norwegian 2L label, believe in miking at the center of the ensemble. Some rock also has been remastered with instruments in the surrounds. I agree that this is not desirable except as a gee whiz gimmick.


I find that Isomike recordings are good, if not the best sonically. They were not a commercial success, and are now defunct. The de facto standard for Mch recordings is the 5 channel ITU angular setup, with a good, matching center channel. The value of the center channel becomes quite obvious when playing SACDs of the old Mercury and RCA 3 channel recordings in comparison with their stereo versions on the same disc. 3 channel was the original concept for stereo intended for mag tape. 2 channel was a compromise adopted in the late 50's for the stereo LP, which could not accommodate more channels.


Quad era, 4 channel remasterings are also distinctly third rate sonically compared to modern, discretely recorded 5 or 7 channel. Some of those Quad recordings do have great, classic performances, however.

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