"Prelude To A Scene" now available in Surround!
So why surround?
Well, the entire philosophy behind the style of recording for my album was to create the sound (and the final mix) in the studio by the musicians, and then do everything possible to apply minimal post-production to put the listener in that space, with as much realism as possible. To hear it in surround is to be in the space, completely.
There are two main criticisms levelled at surround music, a) it's gimmicky as there are musicians appearing behind me randomly and b) there is just crowd noise/ambience behind me.
While surround music has been around for a long time it has remained a small niche market and as such there has been no normal, accepted template set. There are vastly different ways to approach the 'mix'. And as a result different listener tastes and preferences. Personally I think it depends greatly on the style of music and the intentions of the project. Horn sections appearing randomly out of the rears (Steely Dan "Gaucho") may have a place in some projects but probably not most. However I do believe that there needs to be a marked difference between the surround and stereo mix for it to be worthwhile, and for surround to ever become more accepted by music listeners. Just putting some reverb in the rears is not going to cut it.
For our mix the goal was realism, to place the listener in the room. But where in the room? Well that's the choice. We chose to place the listener in front of the band with the musicians wrapped around, with the piano going no further than 270° and the drums past 90°. The rears clearly have the reverb and slap off the rear wall, and we had some fun with the added in electronics and guitar parts. The guitar and computer generated were added in 'post'. So with those we took the liberty of surrounding the listener, and it sounds great.
In the pursuit of ultimate realism (tonality, placement etc.) for the listener the move to higher bit and sample rates (hi-res) is a big step forward, but the move to surround over stereo is massive. If you ever get the chance listen to a track in surround and then switch to stereo I think you will agree.