When I first got interested in three channel I didn't find any vendor but VAS. I have the VAS and use it in three channel mode, driving VAS mono blocks. The center is a mix of right and left channels. Sounds great on some media. Remember Paul Klipsh started this innovation back in the 50's when he married corner horns with a center channel belle. The VAS stuff is great sound, great value.
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1. I reviewed the Trinaural here: http://www.stereophile.com/musicintheround/904music/index1.html
2. The VAS and the Trinaural derive (synthesize or extract) the center channel from a stereo signal. It is not quite the same as a discrete 3 channel (SACD) signal.
I think you can set up 3 channel using most avrs by just specifying that you do not have rear speakers in the setup. You will need to provide a digital signal to the receiver unless your avr digitizes analog signals. You can use Dolby Digital, NEO, EARS (NAD) to generate the center channel. DD lets you adjust the amount that goes to the center. With HDMI CD/Blu-Ray players, this is pretty easy. With computer music, you can just send the digital signal to the avr. At a higher end, Meridian is very good. They used to have a huge center speaker available for this. Not sure if they still do or not.
In the demo, now did they generate the center channel?
I believe it was a discrete 3 channel recording. 5.1 recordings played reminded me of days of quadrophonic sound with band instruments playing separately from the front and from the rear. The best 5.1 recordings I have heard from dsd, Sacd discs, and bluray use the rear as ambient retrieval not discrete.
The Oscar Peterson and Nat King Cole files were, I believe, originally recorded with 3 mikes. If anything played out of the rear I could not hear it. The 3 channels sounded incredibly natural yet utterly clean and focused compared to the stereo versions which sounded pretty good until the 3 channel versions played.
Yes avrs can probably play this type of format, but II have yet to hear an avr sound anything like the Mytek demo at Axpona.
Yup. Keep in mind that you were not only listening to a discrete 3-channel recording but direct from the DSF files via the Mytek trio and a pretty impressive Pass/Sony setup.
As others have said, 3 or more channels is easy (even with AVRs) but the rest of the system and the quality of the source materials is another matter. I am a Meridian Trifield owner and I am listening to DSF files (2 to 6 channels). I would not expect equivalent from a center channel synthesis system.
3 channel processor? I think the reason there are so few of them is: what's the point? Most people who want more than 2 channels want at least 5.1. Like you, I dislike having instruments in the rear channels but I love having ambient sound or, with live recordings, audience noise, in the rear. That gives a more immersive, 3D sound. If you try that you may find that enhances the music over and above adding the center channel. A subwoofer can enhance the experience as well, so that gives you the 5.1. I suppose you could get a good 5.1 channel processor and only use the front 3 channels.
In my current system, I listen to Trifield through my Meridian G68. I have three identical speakers and three channels of (nearly) identical amplification.
I can tell you from experience that Trifield presents quite a few challenges to set up, as there are a number of parameters (depth, width, center level, center EQ) that must be dialed in correctly. But if Trifield is set up well, it can be a very rewarding musical presentation.