Where do 5.1 (surround sound) soundtracks end up?

  • I know most music is never produced in 5.1 or 7.1, but I know with Blu-rays, most soundtracks from large film companies are surround sound. Obviously I can listen to 5.1 while the movie is playing, but after the surround sound music is produced, is there any place it ends up besides the film? Are there 5.1 soundtracks produced?

    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because "Where to buy music, musical equipment, etc." is off-topic.

    Okay I rewrote it to be a question more about production pipeline and less about acquiring

    It's still an unanswerable and meaningless question: it basically asks "have there ever been soundtrack releases in 5.1?" and I'd say "probably", since I'd guess it happened once or twice. But that's an irrelevant piece of trivia: nobody is going to buy a random soundtrack just because it is in 5.1. And once you limit it to a specific soundtrack, you'd probably be able to find info on whether there is a 5.1 release easily.

    Just consider this: look at the very small number of people who buy 5.1 releases, and at the small number of people who buy soundtracks, and then imagine the extremely small section of people that fit in both of those groups, and then imagine any company investing time and effort in releasing any imaginable soundtrack just in case some of those people would buy it. There's simply no viable market.

    Apparently I'm the only one who would buy 5.1 soundtracks

    The film's *audio* may be 5.1, but I'm not sure the *soundtrack music* is. I'm guessing that's mostly stereo. I imagine it'd be difficult to have the music recorded in 5.1 and properly sync with the audio track on the film.

    @BCdotWEB while you may be right about the specific market, note that soundtracks sell well. Recent examples are Guardians of the Galaxy and The Force Awakens soundtracks...both of which charted at #1 in the US.

    I pulled up two movies that were in 5.1 on Netflix, skipped to the end credits, and both movies had 5.1 soundtracks playing. It was actually pretty awesome. What percentage of movies actually have this high quality of production value, I could not tell you. I'm guessing ones that had budgets over $60m? (Ones I would call the triple-A films)

    @DA. Exceptions do not prove the rule. Here's a number from 1997, i.e. before the music biz got decimated: "SoundScan sales figures show that **the average sales for an instrumental-only soundtrack album sit at around 12,800 units.**"

    @JonathanLeaders If a movie has a decent budget, chances are it has a multi-channel soundtrack. However, most of the time this is little more than a glorified stereo mix.

    @BCdotWEB true, but I don't think averages are a great metric either. The music biz is about selling a lot of one album in exchange for paltry sales of 9 others... :)

  • user546

    user546 Correct answer

    6 years ago

    Albums (both movie soundtracks and albums of music that are not movie soundtracks) have been released in 5.1 format on physical media on SACDs. These never caught on with the public, but they exist. To play back an SACD, you need a special CD player. Audio on SACDs could be in 2-channel stereo or 5.1-surround sound or both. For the latter, you would of course need a home audio system with amplifiers and speakers that can reproduce 5.1-surround sound.

    Music mixed for SACDs was on the market from about the year 2000 to about the year 2009. There have been little or no releases since that time, because the record industry deemed the format to be a failure.


    It appears that a number of classic rock albums from the 70s have been remixed into 5.1-surround sound and are available for purchase on audio DVD and audio Blu-ray discs. I'm not sure what kind of audio equipment you would need to play them back, although I have read that some currently-available hardware Blu-ray players can play back 5.1-surround encoded audio from audio DVDs as well as SACDs. I've found examples of albums for sale by Rhino Records, a label that specializes in remastering and re-releasing classic rock albums from the 70s.

    Are you aware of any digital releases?

    By digital, I mean virtual

    On my internet that would take 4 minutes to download. Thankfully space and bandwidth is a problem that is slowly being overcome.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM