Created and presented properly, a stereo recording gives the listening a send of space. If you close your eyes, your brain reconstructs the performers in front of you in a 3D soundstage. The vocalist down front. The guitarist off to the right. The drums spread out across the aural image: snare and high-hats slightly off-centre to the right with the ride cymbal to the left. A fill across the toms moves through your mind from left to right.
Stereo was just fine for the longest time. That is until someone thought that if two speakers (two stereo channels) were good, then four speakers had to be twice as awesome right? And sol, in the early 70s, quadrophonic sound was born.
Actually, quad was stilborn. It required the purchase of not just two more speakers, but everything else, too. A quad amp/decoder. A quad-capable stylus for the turntable. And quad-specific records. It was the furthest from being backwards compatible.
The next development came with home theatre systems. Formats such as 5.1 gave way to 6.1, 7.1 and so on. I’ve even sat through a demo of a home theatre that promises 12.3. (twelve speakers and three subwoofers.)
Which brings me to Amber’s email with a link to something purporting to be an 8D recording of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Is this really a thing? Plug in some headphones and listen for yourself.
Want more? Try some Arctic Monkeys in 8D.
And here’s one more from Linkin Park.