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Stereo sound

QUESTION: In what way are spatial sound, wide sound and surround sound different from stereo sound?

K.V.S.Ramakoti, Eluru, A.P.

ANSWER: Lets look at the way a home music system work. The standard format for home music systems (or FM radio or even television) is the two-channel sound, which is otherwise known as Stereo sound.

It is nothing but the two-channel recording, in which sound is played on speakers on either side of the receiver/listener. In the broader sense, stereo effect just recreates the experience of being present at the event.

Surround sound refers to multi-channel systems. To be more specific, multi-channel systems designed by `Dolby Laboratories'.

It also refers to home theatre multi-channel audio systems, in which sound originates from multiple directions.

Spatial sound is very much concerned with the concept of Localisation. Humans and animals as well hear sound in three dimensions and the very fact is that the perception of spatial aspects of sound is essential to our survival.

That is, Spatial waves or sound are well recognised by a person since his ear-body-brain combination correctly decodes waves.

Assume you are listening to a recorded sound where there is a lack of sensational ambience, a separation of the instruments and a perception of context of the performance.

A keen observation reveals that something is missing here. Yes. The missing stuff happens to the Spatial effect or detail. To quote an example, both Virtual Reality (VR) and High Definition Television (HDTV) require spatial sound reproduction apart from what ordinary stereo can offer. But there remains a proof that no commercially available system can successfully convey the natural spatial hearing experience or effect.

Wide sound is more or less similar to Surround sound. To be more precise, it's a type of sound that is intermediate between stereo and surround effect.

The frequency range lies between that of stereo and surround ones.

S. Sriram, Chennai

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