So… I found something interesting the other day. After we moved into the new place I slacked off on setting up the surround sound speakers. I had the front 3 and the sub setup. Everything was fine, In our smaller living room area, it didn’t seem to matter, and I couldn’t even figure out how I would setup speakers properly if I wanted.
Then I went to watch Gravity… A movie that had as much depth in audio as it did in 3D video. The movie rotates audio 360 as the camera pans in many scenes, meaning vocals may be only coming out of the back speakers quite often. This resulted in me only hearing half the conversation quite a bit in the first few minutes.
Generally before this, the only things going through surround speakers are some sound effects, explosions, or ambient noises. Rarely does a movie place key dialog, or rotate the entire audio “scene” around you as you watch.
Kudo’s to Gravity for being one of the first movies to truly use surround sound, but this does set a bad precedence for people (like me) who slack and don’t have the entire system setup. If you just have a sound bar, or stereo speakers, you should still get all the audio because it will compress 7.1 channels to 2.0 or 3.0. But you will lose the entire immersive effect they did in this movie. It’s actually a pretty significant effect that changes the entire feel of the movie.
In the end I setup the rear speakers on the floor facing up behind our sofa, so they bounce the audio off the ceiling behind us to give some distance, and works well. Now I can hear all the bits of the movie and the added depth is pretty amazing for this movie. I never thought losing 2 speakers would alter a movie in such a way.
This the way of things to come? or a one off over ambitious audio design? Who knows, but I like it :)