Old and busted surround sound: 7.1; New hotness: 22.2

I believe that surround sound systems are going the way of the razor. Three blades, four blades, five blades…where will it stop? Similarly we’ve seen a continual breaking down of surround sound systems. 2.1 is certainly not enough, 5.1 is enough for dabblers, 7.1 is required for the full effect, and now a 22.2 system is going to be the true cinemaphile’s audio solution.

Check out the speaker breakdown:

Sounds coming from the front, rear, right, left, above and below can be reproduced in detail by three layers of speakers, with nine channels on top, ten in the middle and three at the bottom, as well as a two-channel LFE (Low Frequency Effects) speaker…

Japan Broadcasting Corporation (more familiarly known by their Japanese initials, NHK), has created the system in order to provide more realistic 3D sound, and has even made a sphere-shaped “one-point” microphone that gathers sound that the new signal processor can use. The big advance they’re touting is actually that they can supposedly produce 22.2 channel sound using headphones that are on the market right now. Not sure how that works, but I’m just going to go with it.

I think we can all agree this is overkill, but if it means that the hottest theaters are going to start putting speakers in above and below me, then count me in.

Update: Looks like it’s been around for a little while, but this one is broadcast ready. Now, if only the prices for the 22.2-channel systems would come down a bit…