I don't think it's as much that the demonstration records for 5.1 weren't good (Though I heard few that were truly convincing.) as much as stereo is like MP3. There are better options out there, but at the end of the day I think there is a certain degree of economics for the amount of time, work, and money they are willing to put into their sound systems.
People have stereo in their cars, MP3 players, CD players, etc. just the same as MP3 is a standard that caught on in the popular language and is used by a sizable amount of gadgets. Just as with people being disinterested in re-ripping their CDs into FLAC and getting different software to make it happen because it sounds better, people aren't necessarily willing to shell out the extra hundreds of dollars for a 5.1 receiver, more speakers, more wire, and more work to set it up when they already can listen to the music they like the way they probably heard it originally and liked it, through their car's FM radio, on MTV, at a concert, or on a friend's stereo.
While I think demonstration records may have some minor part in the matter, I think it's just a matter of priority. When people are building a new entertainment system, 5.1 may be an option, but most people tend to hold on to what they have, think the demo units are too expensive, or would rather shell out the extra cash toward a couple extra inches of television screen space.
Though I wasn't alive for Quadraphonic sound, I would venture to say a similar law of economics comes into play, especially since it was a newer technology and, thus, more expensive.
Bob Olhsson wrote:-----Original Message----- From Tom Fine: The Command records, specifically "Persuasive Percussion," "Provocative Percussion," "Big Band Bossa Nova," and "Stereo/35mm" all charted, in fact Persuasive was at the top of the Billboard stereo album charts for weeks and weeks.
Those along with the Audio Fidelity Dukes of Dixieland recordings and some of RCA's Boston Pops titles were the very first stereo records many of my friends and I ever heard. They stand up remarkably well even today. I have serious doubts that anybody would have bought stereo phonographs without hearing those "demonstration records" in the stores. I also think that Quad and 5.1 music are the colossal commercial failures that they have been entirely because of the lack of convincing demonstration recordings being available at the time most people got their first exposure to the new formats.
Bob Olhsson Audio Mastery, Nashville TN Mastering, Audio for Picture, Mix Evaluation and Quality Control Over 40 years making people sound better than they ever imagined! 615.385.8051 http://www.hyperback.com http://www.thewombforums.com