When I play CDs, I usually just listen to them in stereo, preferring to hear the original recording, warts and all. In this case, however, the The Fantasy Album was mastered in Dolby Surround, (like most Silva discs of late), and thus was designed to be heard in surround. Hearing "The Medjai" fill up my room in Dolby ProLogic II mode was a pretty involving experience. Curious, I decided to try out Sandcastles and Breadcrumbs to see what it sounded like, and it sounded pretty damn good!
I don't usually recommend surround fields to stereo music, I have in the past admitted that I found the rhythm-driven The Farthest Reaches to work well in Pro-Logic II (music) and that the entries in The Philosopher Cycle (Sensations, Textures, Ethereal) work well in DTS NEO:6 or ProLogic II. Rarely does stereo orchestral music work well when with these ersatz soundfields (for a real mess, listen to You'll Believe A Man Can Fly in some surround setting... no, wait, don't. Really, don't!), but in this case I can say that the surround field does add something to the experience of the album.
Keep in mind that I am only referring to the "music" settings of either DTS NEO:6 or Dolby ProLogic II, which extract the LFE and the surround presence for center and rear channels, but do not apply processing to the front left and right channels.
Interestingly, my personal take on Dolby Labs has done another 180°, forming now a complete 360°. I believe that their slogan "Making Movies Sound Better" from the 70s was something they achieved; they did have an enormous impact by making progressively better quality multichannel sound cost effective. I also felt that their noise reduction technology, while not perfect, was a great boon to the recording industry.
But the original Dolby AC-3 codec pissed me off, and Pioneer's strong-arming the as-yet unfinished format into the Grand Alliance's DVD and HDTV specs to the exclusion of other, better technologies to have been a major blow to audio reproduction, which is something I've often complained about with respect to DVD sound quality. While Dolby did improve AC-3 by upping the bit rate from 384 kb/s to 448 kb/s, it still remained an extremely compromised format... and the fact that it was the standard on DVD meant it ended up compromising its major competitor, as the sonically superior DTS was forced to scale back its 1509 kb/s bit rate to 754 kb/s to accommodate the Dolby track.
Dolby Digital has now gone through another overhaul for HD DVD and Blu-ray, which included raising the bit rate on the core AC-3 signal, and Dolby Digital Plus is an excellent codec, much superior to its predecessor. And the lossless Dolby TrueHD is out-freaking-standing, completely indistinguishable from the uncompressed PCM tracks on discs that have both (in case you're wondering why they'd bother to have both, the TrueHD track contains a "core" Dolby Digital track that makes it backwardly compatible with older home theater receivers). I have to say that the work of the Dolby Labs of late has made me quite happy.
Yoinked from revolos55:
Your result for The Perception Personality Image Test...
HFDS - The Coach
Humanity, Foreground, Detail, and Shape
You perceive the world with particular attention to humanity. You focus on what's in front of you (the foreground) and how that is affected by the details of life. You are also particularly drawn towards the shapes around you. Because of the value you place on humanity, you tend to seek out other people and get energized by being around others. You like to deal directly with whatever comes your way without dealing with speculating possibilities or outcomes you can't control. You are highly focused on specific goals or tasks and find meaning in life by pursuing those goals. You prefer a structured environment within which to live and you like things to be predictable.
The Perception Personality Types: