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    Surround Album, Utilities Land On tvOS

    January 13, 2017 by Andy Vaughan

    Ever heard music in surround sound? Chances are, if you have a multichannel home audio/video system, you've been hearing music through all channels. But that doesn't mean you're hearing your favorite album mixed specifically for more than two channels. In fact, usually you're hearing a straightforward 2-channel stereo mix that's been "upmixed" by your AVR to use all of your speakers.

    Apple TV users though, have a new option that clearly illustrates the difference between a 2-channel stereo mix, and a mix intentionally created to take advantage of surround speakers, a center channel and a subwoofer.

    Meet Surround Sound Ear Candy.

    Created with the home theater in mind

    Surround Sound Ear Candy is the debut multimedia app-album from surround recording artist Jeff Perrin. It features a collection of guitar-centric soundscapes and instrumentals, each specifically written and arranged for surround sound playback in the home theater environment. The app provides a rich multimedia experience, full of production details, backstory and studio pics, as well as bonus clips and demo tracks.

    Surround Sound Ear Candy is the first true multichannel surround sound music and entertainment app in the Apple App Store. It is currently the only app to feature music presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.

    When writing the music for Surround Sound Ear Candy, composer/producer Jeff Perrin envisioned a musical experience which would take full advantage of these extra speaker channels, effectively turning the listener’s room into an immersive, three-dimensional sound stage.

    Apple TV Changes the game

    Stereo mixing has long been the default for music for a variety of reasons. Cost, complexity, common playback environments have all conspired to keep your favorite locked into two channels (with, of course, a few exceptions). With the advent of new media devices in the living room, though, musicians and audio engineers are able to give multichannel audio delivery a second look.

    "I've always dreamed of writing and producing for surround sound audio, but up until recently, the technology and associated start-up costs involving such a project were just too far out-of-reach for the independent musician," said Perrin.

    "Apple’s App Store distribution model, combined with the Apple TV, provides the perfect vehicle for me to deliver my surround sound music to a like-minded audience. I’m really looking forward to bringing them along as I forge new territory in home theater entertainment!"

    Make sure your setup is right

    Perrin's work is a delight to experience, but to get the full impact of an album intentionally mixed or a multichannel room, you should be sure your system is set up properly.

    Not coincidentally, Perrin also provides an app for tvOS called Surround Speaker Check to ensure proper operation of your 5.1 surround system. In a few simple steps, Surround Speaker Check plays selections to verify proper placement and routing of each channel.

    While this sounds like something you could do with any content, I was able to identify a temperamental loose wire that was compromising the performance of my audio setup with Perrin's app that I never realized existed before.

    Even more importantly, Perrin's app also plays back tones meant to test for proper connection and calibration of your subwoofer.

    When setting up your home theater system, Perrin's app is definitely the right tool for the job.

    Available NOW on tvOS and Apple TV

    Both apps are available on the App Store for tvOS. For Apple TV (4th Generation users), search for "Jeff Perrin Music."

    Basic features of Surround Speaker Check are available for free, and surround sound tracks for Surround Sound Ear Candy are available for purchase in app.

    And naturally, all audio is encoded in Dolby Digital Plus for the best possible performance in your home theater.

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