An historical review is presented showing how all attempts to increase the degree of representation of spatial elements within a sound image have previously been constrained to some variant of the two channel stereo systems developed in the 1920's and 30's. The paper attempts to show that this was a result of the technologies available for carrying the information to the consumer. It is argued that the multichannel distribution media which are being developed will change this position enabling the widespread adoption of systems beyond stereo. A suggestion is made for an additional operational mode to be incorporated within the multichannel audio disc standards, which would increase their flexibility.
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