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David Chesky of Chesky Records Regarding 6.0 Surround


  Dear Music Lovers and Audiophiles,

I do not want to rock the boat, but I feel as an audiophile and musician I must say something about this issue which I feel strongly.

We have been experimenting with surround here for quite some time without much success. But now I believe we have achieved a breakthrough. I am convinced, once you hear surround sound correctly set up, that you will agree it is a giant step forward in the recreation of recorded music.

I am excited by the possibilities of both DVD Audio and
SACD. But I am sorry to say I do not think 5.1 is a viable answer for music reproduction.

We don't need to reinvent 5.1, we already have a 5.1 format -- it's called DVD-Video. If the major record companies truly believe the public wants to hear music in 5.1, why haven't they released 5.1 music titles to the installed base of millions of DVD players? Do they think DVD-A or SACD's improved sound quality will really make that much of a difference over the average system? Transposing the preexisting home theater 5.1 speaker set up to pure music formats like DVD-A or SACD doesn't make any sense.

DVD-A and SACD are new and exciting formats and I feel we should get the most out of them.

To the best of my knowledge, 5.1 was created for video, rather than music and I do not think it is the correct way to reproduce concert hall acoustics. DVD Audio and SACD both have the ability to deliver six full bandwidth channels. I feel the channels and speaker assignments can be better arranged to serve the needs of music.


Do we really need a center channel for music?

While a center channel may be good for video, most audiophiles get a pretty good phantom center. Also most serious listening in the real world is usually done alone so the listener can sit in the sweet spot. I think this data channel (the center channel) can be put to better uses.

Is a subwoofer necessary?

Most audiophile speakers are full range and I do not see the point of allocating another data channel (the .1 channel) for this. Furthermore, audiophiles, who are concerned about bass response, can easily employ a subwoofer as many do already.

We are now left with a four speaker surround array. Two toward the front and two rearward. The two extra surround channels can be used for what I feel is a better application i.e. side surround channels at 55 degrees to give you those first enveloping early concert hall reflections.

SACD and DVD Audio would still offer four channels, two for the stereo pair and two rear surrounds, for those that do not want to add the front surrounds. These discs would still be 5.1 compatible but with no center or subwoofer output. Those that wanted the ultimate in music surround would simply turn on the bonus surround tracks.

For those living in the vicinity of Manhattan, we invite you to hear 6.0 reproduction at our studio. Note this is not a future media format; SACD and DVD Audio can deliver this now with some simple adjusting of channel allocation and speaker placement. Thus we plan to release our titles in both the SACD and DVD Audio 6.0 multi channel format. We also have five stereo SACD's coming out soon and their names and titles will be the subject of another press release.

If left with no choice or forced by the industry, we will come out with 5.1 discs, but I can assure you that six full channels is the way to go, given the existing media, until something else comes along in the future that is better.

If we want to get people off the net and back to listening to music, whether it be at home or in the concert halls, we need to deliver a great new format that is exciting and fun. Six full range channels can deliver this now.

I am just a musician and I do not make the rules, but it seems to me that movies and concert halls are two different things and if we are going to have, audio only, SACD and DVD Audio they should be designed for music.

Please think about this.

Thank you,
David Chesky

What is DVD Audio?

The advantages of 96kHz/24-bit Super Audio DVDs can be best illustrated by comparing them to Compact Discs. CDs consist of two channels of 16-bit PCM audio sampled at 44,100 times per second. A 16-bit sample can contain 65,536 possible amplitude (or volume) levels. 96/24 Super Audio DVDs can contain 16-, 20-, or 24-bit PCM audio sampled 96,000 times per second. In the case of 24-bit audio, the samples can contain 16,777,216 possible amplitude levels!

You’ll hear more soundstage depth, textures within the music will be more apparent, greater large and small scale dynamic contrasts will add more excitement, and thanks to the more than doubling of the sampling rate to 96kHz, you will experience effortless high-frequency extension and purity.


What are Chesky Super DVD-Audio 6.0 Full Range Multi-Channel Recordings?

5.1 surround sound was designed for video. We feel at Chesky Records that 5.1 is not the right format to extract all the music and information that multi-channel DVD-Audio has to offer. Chesky 6.0 full-range multi-channel was designed to put you, the listener, in the performance space.


How do we do this?

Well, 5.1 DVD-Audio actually has the capability of delivering six full range channels of music. We reassign the Center Channel (Channel 5) to the left 55° speaker and the Subwoofer LFE Channel (Channel 6) to the right 55° speaker (see diagram). In a concert hall, proscenium reflections dominant hall ambience, and when you take advantage of our 6.0 surround, the 55° speakers will recreate those spatial cues in your listening room.

We also suggest that the rear speakers be placed 135° to 145° in the rear since most real-world listening rooms cannot fit the 110° rear placement suggested in 5.1.


Channel assignments:

Channel 1 left front speaker
Channel 2 right front speaker
Channel 3 left rear speaker (135 to 145 degrees)
Channel 4 right rear speaker (135 to 145 degrees)
Channel 5 left side 55 degree speaker ( this was the center channel)
Channel 6 right side 55 degree speaker (this was the subwoofer channel)


Loudspeaker Positioning Graph

For Best Performance:

1.) All speakers must equidistant from the listener 

2.) Experiment with raising the side 55° speakers to a height of 3 to 7 

3.) You can experiment with the placement of the rear speakers as well. We recommend 135° to 145°, but 110° to 145° will offer acceptable results. This is obviously room-dependent, and remember to keep all the speakers an equal distance from the listener.


6.0 to 5.1 Compatibility

If you wish to play this recording on a 5.1 system, you can disconnect the Center Channel (Channel 5) and Subwoofer Channel (Channel 6). This will result in a 4.0 system that will still sound very good. You can also play the recording in 5.1 mode without disconnecting Channel 5 and 6 and still the sound will be acceptable. Lastly, you can play this recording in 2-Channel stereo by simply playing it in the stereo mode.


Setting the Channel Playback Levels

At the end of this disc you will find a setup test tone of filtered pink noise (courtesy of Tom Holman and TMH Labs) that you can use to equalize the output of all your channels. Some professional recording studios use 85dB (C weighted), while many film labs prefer to use 83dB. For home use, we recommend using a Sound Pressure Meter set to 78dB and adjust your preamp so all the channels are at the same volume.

Now sit back and enjoy Chesky Records 6.0 Super DVD Audio concert hall realism!





























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