Last night, I attended a recorded panel discussion organised by speaker manufacturer B&W. The discussion was about surround sound and its importance to listeners, and it will be posted on the B&W website at the beginning of October. So, just one day after the fabled What Hi-Fi Sound And Vision Awards ceremony, I dragged my weary, tired body – and the attendant hangover that loomed over me like Javier Bardem in a foul mood – down to the Strongroom Studios in Hoxton.
Danny Haikin of B&W provided the room (along with beer and cocktail sausages), while the opinions were provided by the following:
Martyn Ware chaired the discussion. Martyn is a musician, artist and record producer. He was a founding member of both Heaven 17 and The Human League, and through his company, Illustrious, is the designer and developer of revolutionary new surround systems. Andrew Walter is the Surround Sound mastering engineer at Abbey Road Studios. Verbally sparring with these lumninaries were three journalists: David Price, John Bamford, and yours truly.
It was a fascinating and enjoyable evening: Martyn and Andrew banged the drum for surround sound in all its forms, while David Price and I expressed a certain sceptcism about whether the public is yet genuinely enthused by the idea of multichannel music.
But we all agreed that surround sound points to a future of genuinely immersive listening, and if there's enough appropriate content available (and hardware, and all of it at the right price), then multichannel music might take off a a great deal more than it has already.
As I say, the podcast will be up on the B&W website in a week, so head over there around the first of October to listen to the discussion in full. In the meantime, what do you think? Do you use your surround system just for movies, or do you use it for music, too? Is music simply better in stereo? Or do some genres of music suit multichannel while others get turned into a dog's dinner by the transfer into 5.1?
Let us know what you think.