I would like to know what other members think of 3D music.
As many of you are aware, a market doesn’t seem to exist for these recordings. As one who produces a 3D copy of every mp3 I make, I am surprised by just how few surround-sound recordings I find online. In a world rife with 3D graphics, we sadly do not hear much 3D music (not foley) outside of movie/game soundtracks. Why is this? Just as our eyes perceive the world in three dimensions, our ears perceive sound in three dimensions. That being the case, you would think people would clamor for surround-sound as they do for its counterpart.
As one who composes mainly for instruments that would ordinarily be performed on a stage, such as guitar, piano, violin, and orchestra, I generally produce recordings where I direct the reverberant sound rather than the source sound to the back speakers, thereby emulating the natural effect of acoustics in a room or hall.
The other approach to 3D music recording is where the source sound itself is channeled to the various speakers to create a “floating in space” quality to the music. This is the more common approach to 3D sound engineering.
To me, the problem with most commercial 3D music is that the wrong technique is applied to the recording of it. Of course, it all depends on the tastes of the composers, recording artists, and sound engineers involved in a given project; they may actually want one effect or another. I am specifically referring to the basic rap-around technique we hear in so many of these recordings where the sound is handled much the same as simply duplicating the stereo image to the back speakers. For example, I recently listened to a "3D" recording of a Brahms symphony engineered in this way. I guess the intent was to place the listener in the middle of the orchestra as if the listener were a part of it. This approach may be preferable to some and I respect that, but to my ear, it is unnatural and somewhat disconcerting. Very few of us know what it is like to listen to an orchestra from within the orchestra; however, many of us know what it is like from the outside. In a live setting, the ensemble is usually anywhere from our ten-o'clock to two-o'clock position. From that, we then hear the source and its resounding timbre as determined by the halls acoustical properties. This is why I choose to record my stage music by the first method described above.
As those of you who have surround-sound systems can hear, music recorded in this way literally heightens and deepens the listening experience.
What do you think?