Last-modified: 21 January 1998
Ambisonic Surround Sound FAQ
Copyright: © 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998 by Martin J Leese
Distribution is unlimited
19. If Ambisonics is so wonderful, why is it not a
We should first note that technical excellence and commercial success do not
necessarily go hand-in-hand. This is why you are all watching VHS video tapes
and not Betamax.
Ambisonics has suffered from the following:
- It came to market just as quadraphonics was dying away. Manufacturers had
lost a bundle on quadraphonics and were not receptive to "yet
another" surround sound system.
- It was never supported by a major record company. The record majors had
all backed different quadraphonic systems.
- The rights were held by the National Research Development Corporation, now
defunct. This was a sort of venture capital company, but one owned and
run by the British government. The NRDC has little commercial nous. (Yes
"nous", look it up.)
- Ambisonics is thought of as a "purist" technique and not
applicable to multi-track studio recording. This fallacy is demolished by
The Alan Parson's Project Stereotomy, Arista 8384.
- While Ambisonics can lend itself to the impressive ping-pung-pang-pong
effects beloved by salespeople, it is usually used with more subtlety. This
makes it difficult to sell.
- It is British, ie, not invented in the USA or Japan.
- It is British, ie, not well marketed.