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Author Topic: IS <-S T E R E O-> DEAD ?  (Read 2551 times)

Offline steveidosound

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IS <-S T E R E O-> DEAD ?
« on: January 11, 2013, 04:55:08 PM »
I decided that this is important enough I would post it as a separate discussion topic.

I recently spent time in the electronics areas of some major retailers. In the old analog days as a kid, this was my favorite place to hang out ; either at dedicated consumer electronics stores or in that department at other stores
including Sears, J.C. Penny etc. etc.
Now I don't really even like going there that much any more.

But what I observed recently leads me to "ask the musical question" -

Is Stereo Dead?

I know, it sounds sort of odd asking that considering how many people you see walking around with earbuds, but other than that, I really wonder if stereophonic reproduction means much in todays music.
I see all sorts of bluetooth one piece wireless speakers and boomboxes and laptops and phones  with either only one speaker, or two located so close together that any possibility of channel separation and imaging seems pretty unlikely, let alone anyone leaving their head positioned in the one small area where you might get some stereo for a  long enough sustained period to hear something approaching stereo.
I think we are back to the days (or perhaps the average non-audiophile consumer never left them) where we equate stereo with just some sort of "better" (whatever _that_ means now days) sound.
Most, I think, would be hard pressed to give some sort of a reasonably cogent explanation of what stereophonic sound is technically or what it is supposed to do aesthetically.
Even in the area of home theater and "X.1 surround sound", we see people wanting the big movie sound experience to go with the flat panel TV  from some sort of "sound bar" box that sits beneath it, which may or may not make claims for any sound directionality, real or "simulated".
Even all those people walking around with earbuds or headphones on, do they know or care about any sound stage or image.
In the dark ages when I was young and slipped on my first pair of headphones, I hated mono sound seeming to come from the middle of my brain and was a little freaked out when I heard that panned gunshot in the Doors song "Unknown Soldier" blast through my head for the first time from left to right on one of my first stereo Lps.
Yes I knew about stereo, what it was, how it worked, and thought it was cool back then, but then I always was a geek.

 Heck, I also have always loved surround sound, from the old quadraphonic and time delay and "ambiance recovery" systems right on through all the digital surround formats we have today.

Does anyone (outside the audiophile community and those actually making music and recording) care today?
« Last Edit: January 11, 2013, 04:58:17 PM by steveidosound »
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Offline stellavox

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Re: IS <-S T E R E O-> DEAD ?
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2013, 06:36:09 AM »
Maybe Steve;

A few years back when I was finishing up repairing/aligning some FM tuner, I ran it across our local FM band and realized that on one station the FM stereo light didn't come on.  Thought at first that it might be the tuner but it worked OK on other stations.  Happened to run into the station manager some months later and asked him what was happened.  He said that their multiplex generator broke and it took them quite a while to get it repaired, during which time they broadcast in mono.  NO ONE ever called in to complain/ask (besides me, after the fact) - so they didn't rush the repair. 

Guess you don't need stereo in an elevator.