chapter  15
31 Pages

Surround Sound Microphone Technology

While two-channel stereo has been the mainstay of consumer sound reproduction for nearly

a half-century, surround sound as originally developed for motion pictures has technical

roots that go back even earlier. For the consumer, surround sound as a central requirement in

music-only presentation in the home has had a spotty history. Quadraphonic (four-channel)

sound was introduced in the mid-1970s and failed, chiefly because the technology proposed for

it was not sufficiently developed. During the mid-1990s, surround sound was reintroduced

to the consumer as an integral part of the home theater revolution, with its five-channel

loudspeaker array consisting of three loudspeakers in front and two at the sides slightly to the

rear of the listener. The basic plan was patterned after the normal loudspeaker setup in

motion picture theaters of the day. A primary performance benefit of the “new” video-based

surround sound was the use of a front center channel, which anchored center-stage events

accurately in that position-regardless of where the listener was located. The added benefit of

global ambience as fleshed out by the back channels was equally beneficial.