There are literally hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of surround-capable computer gaming and home theater system installs in the world … and yet, the 5.1 surround experience remains obscured in its own set of technicalities, codec issues and even speaker order differences. Hell, even for me, setting up a system to play back discrete 5.1 from a DTS-CD can be an exercise in friggin’ futility.

BUT … When you take the time to understand your system and to go out and buy quality surround music, a whole new world of audio experience will be opened up to you. I remember as a kid, holding the wide flaps of a double album behind my ears and listening to the disc in a whole new way. Just doing that created reflections to the rear of my ears that brought the music to life.

If you have a discrete 5.1 surround system … an easy way to get into surround is to go onto ebay and search for “DTS 5.1 surround music”. In my humble opinion, a “DTS-CD” will provide the easiest way to experience hi-def 5.1 music, with a minimum of hassle. If you experience problems, you might take a look at a post that I did when I was setting up my own second playback studio. It’s not always easy … but once you have your system setup … if you’re open to a new experience … I PROMISE that it will rock your sonic world.

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So … I just got a HUGE lesson in the complexities of surround system setup. recently, after completing the 5.1 surround mixes and DTS-CD of “chamberland”, I wanted to hear it in our second surround room. I put the disc in the player and ARRGGG! it was all wrong! what should’ve been in the rear was coming out of the front speakers and all sorts of things were going wrong on equipment that was about 8 years old, but perfectly capable of playing a DTS data-stream!
So … in order to check things out I took the disc to a local Magnolia HiFi (the original magnolia store) and played the disc. it played perfectly … in fact it sounded GREAT!
So … I then went about the task of replacing the entire system in the second room. The DVD player, the receiver … everything … and it still played back wrong! AAARRRGGG! What’s going on!
Next, we learned more about the audio setup settings in the DVD player (who would’ve thought that these would be important). The DTS-CD was fine … the DTS streamplayer proved this, but what was going wrong?
So … not being one to give up, I bought a new state-of-the-art reciever-amp and plugged it into the system … it didn’t work! the same thing happend, it was all squashed into (but not entirely) into the front LCR speakers. I was feeling sick now. THEN … we remembered to go back to the audio setup on the BluRay player. Sure enough, a whole “NEW” selection tab called “PCM multi-ch” showed up. It wasn’t there before, but now that we put in a new receiver … I selected it … AND IT WORKED PERFECTLY. the 5.1 mix sounded AWESOME!
Moral of the story … there really is none, except for the fact that surround remains a complex topic, requiring that you know WAY too much for your own good. I totally know that surround is being held back (if not killed) by idiot designers that want to put in new, whizbang buttons and settings to make it as complicated as possible. Hell, if it took me 3 days of intensive work and phonecalls with DTS, how is Joe Average supposed to listen to his favorite music in surround. This is just crazy!
But … now that I’ve learned my lesson … damn, does it sound good and I now have 2 pro 5.1 systems in my facility … a rare blessing indeed!


Had an awesome time at the PMW Grammy Tech Summit … Got a chance to perform at the EMP museum (using Live and my iPad TouchOSC) during registration. Later that afternoon, I had the chance to sit in on a rehearsal by DJ Spooky (Paul D. Miller) that involved an electronic dj set (he was djing his own music) along with an awesome 4-piece string ensemble.

I was taken aback with his inteligent handling of subjects such as global warming, history, human expolation an how they can be integrated into the field of electronic music… this dude is deep!

You can check out a link to his new book – the book of ice here.


view facebook event posting

Rebar | June 3rd | 6:00 – 9:30: Marcell Marias and David Miles Huber (DMH) present “Immersion”, a unique downtempo/dance experience featuring a unique quadraphonic (4-channel) environment with lasers, visuals and water-based fog. Come experience a special electronic music event that’s guaranteed to WOW your senses.
Grammy-nominated David Miles Huber and Grammy-eligible Marcell Marias are composers, performers, and promoters of surround sound and unique live events… $5 at the door

in review …

Soooo … Marcell and my first performance in surround (quad) at the Rebar in Seattle “TOTALLY ROCKED”. Seriously, the music really held up on it’s own and my latest project “chamberland” came across as strong and professional. We’re thinking about taking our gig on the road on the West Coast (stay tuned)… and now a few thanks …

Rebar: Thanks to you all for being so helpful. The KVR system really was amazing. The sound was totally clear, present and pro-quality. I’m sure you’re proud of the installation.

Mike (visuals): Mike, it’s always such a joy to be around your amazing spirit. Marcell’s visuals totally rocked and you “played” them well!

Brux: Thanks for taking all the pics and vids. One of these days I’ll remember to hit the record button … really i will!

All of the good buddies who came out to early on a Sunday night … I especially liked John’s post: “For all of you who are not here, you are missing something great!”

… and last, but certainly not least, to Gideon Klindt for making an AMAZING poster for the night. It totally set the tone for a kick-ass evening.

see event pics here

Thanks all!


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