30 Minutes with Tom Scholz of Boston Page 5

To the current generation, music is in the background rather than the foreground. Growing up, we put aside everything to listen to a new album. People don't really do that anymore. That's probably true. I suppose convenience has a lot to do with it, too. Music production is pretty bad for the delivery that's available. Eventually, it could be only something really horrible, like MP3. But there will be a very small, and very expensive alternative, just like there is today. You can get audio on a DVD that's at least in 24-bit. And 24-bit digital audio is not bad. So I imagine there may be a direct electronic-delivery system that will be at least 24-bit with hopefully a higher bit rate that some people would be willing to pay for, like those who do for half-speed masters.

0611_scholz_dlbWhat do you think of surround sound? Surround sound is nice, but what the hell do you need five speakers for? They did it with four early on in the '70s - quad - and it sounded awesome. It was four real channels that people would mix to using real reverberation and real instruments, not some conjured up, delayed, fake thing to give it false, spatial effects. It's fine, and it sounds neat, but what do you need five speakers for?

I'll take that thought one step further: 10 years after quad came out, people were understanding sound interpretation in the human ear and mind well enough to be able to locate sound from a pair of speakers anywhere in a room, and some of it was quite strikingly good. For that, you had to have very, very good analog reproduction - none of this digital crap where you change phase angles with respect to frequency, because as soon as you do that, you destroy it. It was actually possible in the analog world to have surround sound with two speakers.

So I look at it and I think, "What a scam for selling five speakers and five channels of crap to people for what could have been done with two speakers."

Actually, it's six, because you have a separate sub channel... Of course... still, it's a scam, and it sounds neat, but it can be done with fewer components. I don't want to sound overly cynical, as it's one of those things you can have fun with, but it's not an eloquent solution for doing the job of surround.

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