The Wheel of Cinema Sound

In the 90’s, a handful of digital audio on-film and with-film technologies emerged, all capable of reproducing 5.1 sound. The surprising part is that, regardless of the fact that they all used the same amps and speakers, at least three non-interoperable methods of distributing sound tracks proliferated. For sound mixers, this didn’t pose a problem, as they each could carry the same 5.1 mix. However, distributors and exhibitors weren’t really keen on the multiple distribution idea, and so digital cinema was designed to eliminate the multiplicity of distribution methods for 5.1 sound. Human ingenuity, however, perseveres, and today we are back to having multiple ways to distribute similar, although this time not perfectly identical, soundfields.

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