Vox Daily The Official Voices.com Blog

Surround Sound

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

January 22, 2013

Comments (5)

Man with a set of speakers resting on his shoulders, wearing headphones, safety glasses

Have you ever taken a moment to marvel at sound design in movies?

Surround Sound takes your viewing and listening experience to the next level, prominently featuring the work of sound designers who painstakingly create unique soundscapes.

Whether going to a movie theatre or watching a film from the comfort of your own home, no doubt you have noticed background noises seeping in through your stereo speakers that you wouldn't generally hear without surround sound.

Hear from members of the Voices.com team about their experiences with surround sound and share your own in today's VOX Daily!

Surround Sound Experience

I can remember the first time we watched a movie outside of the theatre with surround sound. You could hear every little detail! One of the first movies we watched with surround sound at home was Annie. There were a number sounds that stood out, even jumped out because of the wraparound nature of how the sound was able to flow freely from different speakers meant to emphasize different aspects of sound.

These weren't sounds you would have heard normally but background noises, wind whistling through the trees, creaking of stairs and other such sounds. Everything the microphone picked up and every little sound effect was completely audible. Hearing such detail can be unnerving at first but once I came to expect that certain sounds were coming from our speakers, I could breathe a little easier...that, and appreciate just how meticulous sound designers are when it comes to creating the perfect atmosphere for film.

I've sat in on a number of classes at the Ontario Institute of Audio Recording Technology (OIART) where sound design was discussed and believe you me, there is a lot of thought that goes into the creation and placement of sound.

Voices.com Team Stories

I asked some of my friends at Voices.com if they had any stories to share about their experiences with surround sound. Maybe you can relate!

"There is a scene in the movie 'Gladiator,' where there is a horse running. You can hear the horse start behind you, and run past you on the right side. I use this clip every time I set up my home theater system." -Jeremy Eichler, Voices.com Project Manager

"Greg (my husband) recently bought a surround sound system for home and we watched Jurassic Park not too long ago. I love the scene where they can hear the T-Rex coming and you can see the ripples in the glass of water moving from the T-Rex's footsteps. The surround sound made our floor shake with every footstep!" -Ashley Davidson, Voices.com Social Media Manager

What About You?

What kind of experiences have you had with Surround Sound? How did it add to your movie viewing experience?

I'd love to hear from you! Be sure to comment on this article to join the conversation.

Best wishes,
Stephanie

iStockphoto.com┬ęGustaf Brundin

Related Topics: Wall-E


Comments


    There is a scene in "Master and Commander" where the ship is getting attacked. During one part they show a guy in a room trying to rescue a few items (as I recall) and with surround sound you can actually hear footsteps over your head. It's not a great movie...in my opinion...but some cool surround sounds.

    Posted by:
    • Greg Phelps
    • January 22, 2013 6:19 PM

      TITANIC! Our local cinema has a small screen but brilliant sound. Never to be forgotten: that engine room, flaring orange boilers, the crash and thump of machinery. Who needs 3D? For this show, the projectionist had placed powerful sub-bass speakers in the void below the auditorium. Our seats shook! The earth moved!

      Posted by:
      • Howard Ellison
      • January 23, 2013 9:58 AM

        Oh, Stephanie...you've hit my hot button with today's blog! I am a huge fan of Surround sound, and have had it in the house for years. I use it for movies, TV shows, and even MUSIC. In fact, I own about 25 classic rock "audio dvd's." These little gems have been remixed to 5.1 surround, but sorry...are no longer available. They've been discontinued. (I think they released them too EARLY, when the average home didn't have surround).
        Some titles:
        Eagles-Hotel California
        Queen- Night at the opera(Bohemian Rhapsody in 5.1? OMG!!!)
        Frampton Comes Alive
        ELP-Brain Salad Surgery
        Paul McCartney & Wings- Band on the Run
        The Doors- Box set with ALL their albums in 5.1
        and gobs more.
        The listening experience is second to none. I only wish they'd continue to make these available to the public.
        If you have a surround system, and want to check it out, visit EBAY for some "Audio DVDs"...they're quite pricey since they've all been discontinued, but well worth it!

        Posted by:
        • jc haze
        • January 23, 2013 10:41 AM

          There's so many great things that come to my mind when thinking of surround sound. Here are just a few:
          1. In our system at home, I particularly enjoy cranking up the surround sound for the first, Pirates of The Caribbean film. Explosions, sea waves crashing & splashing, metal clanking, fabric ripping, boot steps on the deck of the ship, yells & screams, and of course, the outstanding musical score.
          2. Recently experiencing Dolby 7.1 surround sound at the theater when we watched, "Les Miserable." This new technology is breath-taking! In this film, the actors did not lip-sync - all songs were sung & recorded live, & you can hear the background and occasional "hiss," bringing a freshness & sense of realism to the film.
          3. Top Gun. Old film with old technology, but it was cutting edge for its time & I still enjoy the sweeping noises of the fighter jets as they race from one part of the sky to another, and having worked in aviation for years, I enjoy the "little things" like the sound of the afterburners kicking in, etc.
          4. I'll lump two films into this last item - Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, and the Transformers series. I put these all together because of the intense, non-stop noise & explosions that boom from the throat of the sub-woofer. I feel drained after watching these films.

          Posted by:

            ...Whenever Ms. Cora and I buy a surround sound system, we have one acid test movie that will have you looking above you and behind you if the sound is right--'Independence Day'!!
            Oh--and a quick note to jc haze: Dude, you are my kind of audiophile! I'd love to see the rest of the list...

            Posted by:

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