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Multi channel audio is a method of enriching the sound processing quality of an audio source with additional audio channels from audio speakers that surround the audience (surround channels), providing sound from the 360 radius within the horizontal plane (2D) as an alternative to "screen channels" (middle, [front] left, and [front] right) originating only within the listener's forward arc.
Surround sound is portrayed by a listener position or sweet spot where the audio effects perform the best, and offers a fixed or frontward perspective of the sound field to the listener around this location. The procedure enhances the perception of sound spatialization by exploiting sound localization; a listener's ability to identify the location or origin of a noticed sound in direction and range. This typically is achieved by making use of multiple discrete audio channels routed to an array of loudspeakers.
There are numerous multichannel surround sound based types and methods, differing in processing and recording tactics combined with the number and placing of additional channels.
NRG Acoustics SG-4: Domains of use
Though cinema and soundtracks characterize the major uses of surround solutions, its scope of application is broader than that as surround sound enables creation of an audio-environment for all variations of functions. Multichannel surround sound techniques are useful to reproduce contents as varied as music, speech, synthetic or natural sounds for cinema, television, transmissions, or computing devices. Regarding music content one example is, a live performance could use multichannel techniques in the context associated with an open-air show, of an musical theatre or for broadcasting; for a film specific techniques are adapted to movie theater, or even to home (e.g. home cinema systems).
The narrative place is also a content which may be enhanced through multichannel approaches. This is applicable mainly to cinema narratives, much like the talk of the characters of a film, but will even be used on plays for theatre, to a convention, or to blend voice-based comments in an archeological site or monument. As an illustration, an exhibition could very well be improved with topical background sound of water, birds, train or equipment noise. Applicable natural sounds may also be used in instructive applications.
NRG Acoustics HJ-17 - Other fields of application incorporate video game consoles, computers and other platforms.
In these applications, the content would typically be synthetic noise produced by the computer system in interaction with its user. Substantial work has also been done using multichannel audio for enhanced situation awareness in military and general population safety applications.
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