Can anyone give details on some multi-channel thoughts/purpose?

What are the advantages of 5:1, 7:1, 9:2 as far as being like a live music performance  or are they of more use with movies?

Please read my system thread Home Theater Done Right, and check out my system

It took a good full year, actually probably more like two full years, going around auditioning all the options for everything home theater and stereo. What began as a lifelong dream of a dedicated listening room and system became, by the time the room was actually built a dream of having the ultimate Home Theater for movies and music. It was very hard being told by so many the correct way to do HT, only to learn by actual listening experience that it just ain’t so.

For two full years all the reviews were read, and then components tracked down and auditioned. Sometimes even bought or shipped and auditioned. Look at my system. Read the description. Read the most recent comment. Just yesterday the better part of the day was spent carefully removing the drivers from the Talon speakers to replace the gaskets with fO.q tape, paste magnets with FC and other tweaks.

The System of course was not always like this. This today is nearly 30 years effort. It was much more modest in the beginning. In spite of what is there today this is one very tight with the money audiophile. If it was in any way shape or form possible to do well in terms of sound quality with anything else, boom, done! Don’t care what no one thinks. Don’t care what no one else says. Only care what it sounds like.

And what it sounds like to me is the very best Home Theater and the very best stereo are one and the same. The only difference is for HT the speakers, equipment, and screen take a little more thought and planning- but almost entirely in terms of placement and NOT like we are constantly told, in terms of what kind.

Specific to your question, the "advantages" of 5, 7, and 9 are they are able to sell you 5, 7 and 9 times more crap you don’t need. That’s it. All else is noise.
I don't see any of this helps the OP.
5.1 is the basic minimum unless you have a large room and/or many seating positions.  In those cases, 7.1 is useful.  Beyond that are the immersive systems (Atmos, Auro-3D, DTS:X) which utilize arrays of speakers above the listener's ear plane.

Now, in 2020, anything more than stereo is almost entirely for movies/tv. Multi-channel music was attempted with SACD and DVD/Bluray but it really didn't go anywhere. I think it probably got less interest than 3D television watching.

Take a look at Kal Rubinson’s articles on Stereophile entitled "Music in the Round."

He was an early adopter of multi-channel music playback, and he has tried some pretty awesome demo systems, including the use of 3 or more stereo DACs to produce the full 6 channels (5.1).

Unfortunately for him and others that pretty much vanished, and those articles stopped a few months ago. There are of course performance DVD and Bluray disks out there.

Personally I really enjoy having a mixed-use (music and movies) setup. If you are going this route, check out Anthem products. Great room correction and auto-calibration, and sound really good.


Thank you for the thoughtful replies.  It seems like many things in life, it does depend on the intent/purpose. 
I've got 5.1 for SACD but don't use it much.  SACD and DVD-A do sound pretty good.  Vinyl usually wins unless I'm feeling lazy and just want to immerse myself.
For theater, it never seems like enough.  Who has a room large enough for 7.4.2 or even 11.4.2...
I did add the rear height speakers for fun but after wasting enough money I'm not ditching a fairly expensive system to go for Atmos.  I did splurge on OLED which was worth every penny for video but LG built in audio stinks.
I went with 7.1 for ht years ago and have never felt the need for more.
Its pretty darn effective for movies which was the prime aim.
I occasionally play dvd-a or sacd on it when the wife is out and they do sound good.

However my main rig in my room is pure two channel and I have no desire to ever try and build one system that does both ht and music.

I know it can be done but as they are in two totally separate rooms in my house there is no need.
Erik Squires wrote:
Unfortunately for him and others that pretty much vanished, and those articles stopped a few months ago.
You are implying that my column stopped because there was nothing to write about and that would be incorrect.  I decided to stop writing the column to avoid the pressure of the calendar now that I am retired.  My enthusiasm for the topic has not diminished.  
P.S.:  FWIW, I downloaded three new multichannel albums today.
Hold on....
kr4 IS Kal Rubinson himself.?!?!
That I did not know.
A celebrity..... lol
You are implying that my column stopped because there was nothing to write about and that would be incorrect.


Glad to hear it!! I'm always happy to know of any audiophile who sticks to their passion.  I thought you were still writing for Stereophile just not in that column.

Since you are much more experienced, where do you think multi-channel music is and where will it go?

Best to you,

1.  I am still writing for Stereophile but without the constraint of a deadline every 60 days.

2.  I think it will continue as it is and, possibly, gain better market penetration as home theater technology advances and enables audio-only options as corollary.


Does Gilderoy Lockhart post here under a pseudonym?

Does Gilderoy Lockhart post here under a pseudonym?
Who is that?

A fictional character who's pretty much the opposite of yourself...

Poking fun @ one of A'Gon's self proclaimed know-it-all's.