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Multichannel System for Music - Standards, Setup, Thoughts, etc.

andrew

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#61
I have built my library around discrete Mch music recordings. Is upmixing from stereo sources to Mch nearly as good? It can be good and preferable to stereo, but, frankly, it does not come that close to discrete Mch in my experience, and it will not reveal how good Mch can really be. I do not listen to much from stereo on my main system, and I prefer to leave that in stereo rather than upmix it.
I get that upmixing to Mch isn’t as good as native Mch but am unsure as to whether you’re saying that it is or isn’t an improvement on pure stereo. Or, put differently, when is upmixing stereo likely to produce a better outcome than pure stereo?
 

Kal Rubinson

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#62
The problem with upmixing is that it is not a standardized process and different files seem to require upmixing processes or variables to be optimum. In other words, I cannot find a default upmix paradigm that I can keep as a standard. As a result, I just leave stereo as stereo unless something motivates me to play with it. Rarely happens. Mch is just better.
 

Sal1950

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#63
I get that upmixing to Mch isn’t as good as native Mch but am unsure as to whether you’re saying that it is or isn’t an improvement on pure stereo. Or, put differently, when is upmixing stereo likely to produce a better outcome than pure stereo?
"Audiophile" recordings are often good recordings of mediocre or uninteresting music performances :-(. This is reason enough for me to pursue the multichannel upmix process of enhancing existing stereo recordings.
Since I have been able to fine tune this approach to my satisfaction, I no longer listen to JUST 2 channels.
The problem with upmixing is that it is not a standardized process and different files seem to require upmixing processes or variables to be optimum. In other words, I cannot find a default upmix paradigm that I can keep as a standard. As a result, I just leave stereo as stereo unless something motivates me to play with it. Rarely happens. Mch is just better.
@andrew ,Kal is right that the big problem with upmixing is there is no upmixing standard and never will be. Since there is no correct absolute to compare against no one can answer your question as to what is or isn't a better outcome. Among those of us here with multich rigs, opinions vary. It's a simply a subjective opinion as to whether you enjoy any particular upmix format with any one recording or not.
Personally I'm on base with @Chuck Gerlach in that I run Auro 3D almost exclusively now while listening to the popular styles of music that I love. Once I became accustomed to the immersive quailties of upmixing, plain stereo became just too flat and 2 dimensional. A purely personal subjective choice that many would hate.
YMMV
 

Ron Party

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#64
I agree w/Sal. This is a flavor choice. My favorite flavor is to upmix 2 channel stereo 100% of the time. Phantom center channel in stereo never allows me to suspend disbelief.
 

otinkyad

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#65
I've preferred listening to upmixed stereo music over just stereo for a while now, but have only recently started looking seriously into expanding/improving the spatial experience. This thread has helped a lot to clarify my understanding of the two options -- viz, proper upmixing, and using mch recordings. I've begun to acquire some mch, but for me it's slow.

For upmixing, I currently use Auro-2D with my Marantz AV-7704 and a 5.2 layout. Chuck Gerlach's post was very informative, and piqued my interest in Auro-3D:

While most mid to low end processors don't have these two options (AuroMatic Preset and AuroMatic Strength), both the Trinnov and Datasat do.
But Trinnov/Datasat are beyond reach, for me. But I just checked the Marantz AV-7704 manual, and apparently it does have the Auro-matic Preset and Strength options. That puts Auro-3D potentially within reach for the outlay of two-four height speakers. Just thought I'd mention this for anyone else for whom a Marantz is more feasible than a Trinnov/Datasat.
 

Sal1950

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#66
But Trinnov/Datasat are beyond reach, for me. But I just checked the Marantz AV-7704 manual, and apparently it does have the Auro-matic Preset and Strength options. That puts Auro-3D potentially within reach for the outlay of two-four height speakers. Just thought I'd mention this for anyone else for whom a Marantz is more feasible than a Trinnov/Datasat.
Yes those controls are in my Marantz 7703 also, running a 5.2.4 system here, believe the Auro's software in all the Marantz gear has it. I find the overheads do a lot to fill in the "image" on the side walls making the soundfield truely 360.
System is badly handicapped by the room. :(
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/sals-system.614/
 

maty

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#67
Maybe someone -like Kal Rubinson or Rubinstein :) - is interested in the new post by Archimago...

SUMMER MUSINGS 2: Multichannel and the audiophile. MCh streaming with a TV Box. And Thoughts on the Future...

http://archimago.blogspot.com/2019/07/summer-musings-2-multichannel-and.html
I've always thought it unfortunate that some (many!) audiophiles and magazines did not embrace multichannel audio back in Y2K but instead relegated it to the home theater hobbyists. Other than Kal Rubinstein and his "Music In The Round" column in Stereophile, I've rarely seen articles on multichannel over the last decade targeted at audiophiles. Not only is multichannel neglected, but I see that some audiophiles actively oppose it with comments like "You've only got two ears!" and other such supposed justifications of that stance...



Screenshots of my settings in Kodi. Since the TV box is connected to a capable Yamaha receiver with HDMI 2, I can turn on passthru for all the audio bitstreams the receiver can decode including Dolby Digital Plus/EAC3, DTS-HD +/- DTS:X, and Dolby TrueHD +/- Atmos.

The lower screenshot is a reminder that if you ever run into issues with Samba networking, sometimes these boxes will boot into Kodi without network initiation completed. Turning on "Wait for network" worked for me. These pictures were with LibreELEC, the CoreELEC set-up menu is essentially identical.
 
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Sal1950

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#68
"Imagine if a streaming service, instead of sending out MP3 320kbps, were to stream everything in a very high quality lossy codec similar to E-AC3 at 1+Mbps and up to 7.1 channels plus Atmos-like objects"

Qobuz has some 5.1 albums on site. So far no word (AFAIK) from them on the intended process to play them back. I had no success with my PC equipped with a multich HDMI sound/video card. @Kal Rubinson reported some success steaming the files with Roon. The number of albums is still at this time very limited and only of the classical genre.
 

Kal Rubinson

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#69
Qobuz has some 5.1 albums on site. So far no word (AFAIK) from them on the intended process to play them back. I had no success with my PC equipped with a multich HDMI sound/video card. @Kal Rubinson reported some success steaming the files with Roon. The number of albums is still at this time very limited and only of the classical genre.
All too true. I continue to pester Qobuz about expanding this service and they acknowledge an intent to do so. However, they also point out that it is not of highest priority for them at this time.

FWIW, to play MCH files from Qobuz in Roon, you must go through some tricks. These MCH files do not appear in Roon-based Qobuz searches, at least in the USA. One must use the Qobuz app directly and flag those files as favorites or put them into a playlist. After this, those favorites/playlists can be accessed and played in MCH via Roon.
 

Sal1950

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#70
All too true. I continue to pester Qobuz about expanding this service and they acknowledge an intent to do so. However, they also point out that it is not of highest priority for them at this time.
Thanks Kal, appreciate your efforts here. Please continue to do what you can to encourage them to expand the catalog and work with users to make the files more easily accessible. It can be somewhat like a badly keep secret, maybe if you bring up their existance whenever the opportunity arises, the interested customers will put a bit of pressure on them to open things up a bit. Although the market is small, they do have exculsive at this time on the distrobution of multichannel files.
For those interested you can do a search for what's available in 5.1 by entering #MultiChannel in the Qobuz app search bar. That will currently return 34 albums, I believe that is the extent of their offerings. :(
 

Kal Rubinson

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#71
For those interested you can do a search for what's available in 5.1 by entering #MultiChannel in the Qobuz app search bar. That will currently return 34 albums, I believe that is the extent of their offerings. :(
Unfortunately, these 34 do not represent a wide range of choices. :(
 

Kal Rubinson

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#74
The whole thing does seem nonstandardized and therefore probably a little of a wild west thing from the studio sound recording to mastering to home playback. I have been given to believe that things are much more calibrated and standardized in the movie industry.
Yes, if you are referring to upmixing. OTOH, the use of discrete multichannel recordings makes that unnecessary.
 

Sal1950

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#75
Yes, if you are referring to upmixing. OTOH, the use of discrete multichannel recordings makes that unnecessary.
Totally true, unfortunately the catalog of offerings is pretty slim, specially if your interest is rock/pop.
To compound the issue, many releases are packaged in these "reissues" that include vinyl, cds, books and posters, etc; and are priced at hundreds of dollars. I don't need all that extra crap, I just want the Blu Ray. :mad: LOL

The whole thing does seem nonstandardized and therefore probably a little of a wild west thing from the studio sound recording to mastering to home playback. I have been given to believe that things are much more calibrated and standardized in the movie industry.
If you speak of upmixing stereo sources to 5.1, absolutely, it's all wild west and simply a users preference.
True multich recordings use mostly the same standards as the movie industry.

With 2 channel sources either stick to stereo playback or pick what upmixing software sounds best to you. There are a lot of options in software to chose from and some work better than others with each individual recording. Personally I've settled on Auro 3D for most recordings.
If your running an older component, I preferred Dolby PL II over DTS NEO6 for most music. YMMV ;)
 

andrew

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#76
Where can I find (jazz or classical) multi-channel (PCM) recordings to trial true multi-channel music? (And, going forward, is there a real alternative for those of us with PC-based music servers that avoids what looks like a complex process of creating an ISO image from SACD using specific players with specific firmware such as SACD?)
 

Kal Rubinson

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#77
Where can I find (jazz or classical) multi-channel (PCM) recordings to trial true multi-channel music?
What do you mean by "trial?" I know many sites where you can buy downloads. Some may have free samples on occasion. The best for free samples is http://www.2l.no/hires/index.html?
(And, going forward, is there a real alternative for those of us with PC-based music servers that avoids what looks like a complex process of creating an ISO image from SACD using specific players with specific firmware such as SACD?)
Downloads. Besides, ripping SACDs/DVD-As/DVDs is easily learned and soon becomes trivial.
 

andrew

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#78
What do you mean by "trial?"
I've just augmented my stereo speakers with surround speakers and want to listen to some multi-channel music to get a sense of how far to progress the set-up. (The current set-up sees the surrounds are some old, traditional, 3-way speakers which are quite different to the Unity Horns that I use for front left / right speakers - so, ultimately, if I do progress then it means purchasing some surrounds that match the front speakers).

I know many sites where you can buy downloads. Some may have free samples on occasion. The best for free samples is http://www.2l.no/hires/index.html?
Downloads. Besides, ripping SACDs/DVD-As/DVDs is easily learned and soon becomes trivial.
Perfect. Thanks. Any advice on currently players for ripping SACD / DVD-A?
 

Fitzcaraldo215

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#79
Where can I find (jazz or classical) multi-channel (PCM) recordings to trial true multi-channel music? (And, going forward, is there a real alternative for those of us with PC-based music servers that avoids what looks like a complex process of creating an ISO image from SACD using specific players with specific firmware such as SACD?)
Www.hraudio.net

DSD, as from SACD or downloads, is far and away the outright leader in Mch music recordings in all genres. It not even close. But, you might try BD Videos for music, which have the desired PCM, but in much, much lesser quantities. In either case you will have to find the right copy protection schemes, one in software, one predominately in hardware.

My PC with NAS is all that I could require. Best sound of my life. My library is in DSD depending on source format, and even to PCM as needed. I convert all to PCM, for Dirac Live on the fly.
 

Kal Rubinson

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#80
I've just augmented my stereo speakers with surround speakers and want to listen to some multi-channel music to get a sense of how far to progress the set-up. (The current set-up sees the surrounds are some old, traditional, 3-way speakers which are quite different to the Unity Horns that I use for front left / right speakers - so, ultimately, if I do progress then it means purchasing some surrounds that match the front speakers).
I would recommend a center channel as well.

Perfect. Thanks. Any advice on currently players for ripping SACD / DVD-A?
No. I think that most of the players suitable for ripping are OOP but available inexpensively on the used market. Lots of info on ripping at AudiophileStyle.com

Of course, my column has lots of information but I would advice using Google to search it as the website's search engine is lame.
 

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