Audio Engineer, (-J.)™ (hey_i_amdaftfad) wrote in froufroufanatic,
Audio Engineer, (-J.)™

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"Speak For Yourself" Review, in 5.1 -- Surround Sound

It is not very often I will tell someone that they're really missing out on something, because then I sound like a prick and I don't like making enemies.

But if you've never heard an album in Surround Sound (5.1, 6.1, 7.1), either from an SACD (Super Audio CD), a DVD-Audio or even a Live Performance DVD - you're really missing out. (unless it's mixed poorly, then you're just hearing surround-sound-suck)

I have spent the last couple of hours, taking breaks, listening to "Speak For Yourself" encoded/matrixed into a 5.1 system at 85 dB (a good amount of loudness), and listening to what's being drawn into each speaker.

I am thoroughly impressed by what I heard. It's almost as if she mixed it in Surround and recorded it in Stereo.... I was hearing isolation of the Piano in the back speakers, the synthesizers in the Left Center Right speakers, and the Lead vocals sat well in the Center speaker. The background vocals shifted, depending on the song, between the Surround speakers and the Left/Right stereo pair.

The only thing I couldn't enjoy was on 2 songs, the vocals were totally washed up in the center speaker with a LOT of busy drums, bass, synths and background vocals. Much of the Heavy guitar parts (Goodnight and Go, Daylight Robbery) were completely stripped of their power and kinda died... instead of Roaring, they timidly purred.

Yet, it wasn't even intended to sound like this.

What I did notice was she likes triangles. That really adds a nice flavor to a song. =)

But, because of the isolation of bass (SUBWOOFERS were movin' a lot), there was one problem: parts where the bass wasn't a priority, the very crunchy, loud angry parts shot to the rear/surround speakers and those Peaks of the song just shot behind my head and made me jump a few times. Also, there were moments when I remember feeling a powerful drop-in with the bass and vocals and drums on my 2-speakers at home... and the subwoofers were barely moving compared to the rest of the speakers. When I figured out why I felt like a geek and I don't want to publicly explore that geekiness with everyone who reads this. Embarassed

The isolation of Frequencies and panning/stereo-imaging allowed me to hear so much more Background vocal parts - some moments where it was so beautiful and spaced out in one scale. Hearing a piano part clearly in the surround speakers, uncluttered by drums and vocals, it really did feel like immi was a whole band, separated between keys, vocals, and different synthesizers and mmmbira.

I hope that nobody here has to go through their life unaware of the quality of this record... it's pretty insane how it worked.

And to prove it's not isolated, Jamie Cullum's "twentysomething" and Annie's "Anniemal" also worked very well in surround. But this one, by itself, was layered and fit so well in stereo, it breathed much more in a 3-dimensional sonic field.

I feel more like an Audio Engineer now than I ever have.

I lurve (5.1, 6.1, 7.1)

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