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SoundStage! LIVE A/V Tour 2001

High End 2001 -- Frankfurt, Germany
Standout Room - Sony, Polyhymnia International

The true promise of multichannel sound was fulfilled with the paradigm-shifting demonstration held by Sony and Polyhymnia International (a Netherlands-based company that does audio recording and production) using a Sony SACD-based system. Using five full-range channels, the sound was incredibly natural, realistic and quite simply the best we've heard in terms of creating a true acoustic environment. The proprietary miking technique used by Polyhymnia has no phase or time manipulation -- every channel is run at full level. And the surround channels are used to reproduce the first reflections and whatever direct sound is present in the rear of the hall.

The company would not disclose exactly how their miking technique works, but representatives said it is based on how human hearing detects reflected sound. As a result, it captures, in a completely convincing way, the ambience and space of the hall. In addition to this, bass was fuller and tonal colors were more accurate than with the stereo version available for comparison, which was made at the same time as the multichannel recording with separate engineers each in their own control rooms. Most impressive was the ability to walk around the room without the three-dimensional soundstage collapsing -- not often something you can do with multichannel sound.

Above are Jean-Marie Geijsen (left, Polyhymnia) and Meik Whippermann (Sony).

SoundStage! LIVE A/V Tour 2001

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