Reference vs. Preference: The “Surround” of Surround Sound 2006-01-0481
Surround sound provided by stereo and 5.1 systems may not be satisfying all its listeners. Whether in the automobile or in the home, customers complain of “nothing from the rear speakers”, or about the sound “not filing the room”, etc.
While 5.1 systems promise more surround, the economics of music production and concerns of music professionals are likely causing stereo to dominate production resources and causing 5.1 mixes to miss their full potential. The author believes that post-processing electronic and acoustic manipulation can produce sound that customers will prefer.
A controlled experiment was performed which compared reference stereo and surround systems to ones augmented by extra surround equipment.
Discusses a very brief history of stereo and surround sound
Describes an experiment used to test listener preference,
Details experimental results when comparing reference-like music presentation with envelopment enhancing sound processing using both stereo and 5.1 recorded music.