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35mm Stereo Sound Question

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Forgive me if this is a stupid question but I’ve always wondered. How were 2.0 Stereo soundtracks played during theatrical release? Meaning, were they played as 4.0 or were they sometimes (depending on the theater’s ability) played as 2.0?
Thanks in advance

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A mono version was created for theatres that were unable to play the film in stereo.

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crissrudd4554 said:

A mono version was created for theatres that were unable to play the film in stereo.

I don’t think that’s the question he asked.

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yhwx said:

crissrudd4554 said:

A mono version was created for theatres that were unable to play the film in stereo.

I don’t think that’s the question he asked.

Well it was the closest I had to an answer.

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m said:

Forgive me if this is a stupid question but I’ve always wondered. How were 2.0 Stereo soundtracks played during theatrical release? Meaning, were they played as 4.0 or were they sometimes (depending on the theater’s ability) played as 2.0?
Thanks in advance

5

(it’s the closest I have to an Answer)

TV’s Frink said:

I would put this in my sig if I weren’t so lazy.

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I would imagine theaters that only had 2.0 capabilities played in 2.0 and those with 4.0 capabilities upmixed the 2.0 track to have surround. I mean even the original 2.0 are matrixed to Dolby surround (a more primitive form of pro logic) and I don’t see why they would go through the trouble of doing the matrix downmixing if theaters couldn’t handle it because I don’t believe people were using Dolby surround (pro logic) to watch movies at home until 80s or 90s.

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Possessed said:

I would imagine theaters that only had 2.0 capabilities played in 2.0 and those with 4.0 capabilities upmixed the 2.0 track to have surround. I mean even the original 2.0 are matrixed to Dolby surround (a more primitive form of pro logic) and I don’t see why they would go through the trouble of doing the matrix downmixing if theaters couldn’t handle it because I don’t believe people were using Dolby surround (pro logic) to watch movies at home until 80s or 90s.

So depending on the theater it was played back both ways?

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I’m only guessing based on logical thinking

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There are two components to this. First is the sound unit on the projector. It has to be able to read the stereo soundtrack. Sometime in the early 80’s, the last projectors that required a mono print either vanished or were no longer supported. Theaters could upgrade the sound unit and not the speakers. Many theaters could play stereo soundtrack but only had mono speakers. Of the 15 screens in my city when I was going to movies a lot (mid 80’s to late 90’s), at least 9 only had a lone mono speaker but they all used the same stereo prints.

Once you have the sound unit that can read the soundtrack off the film, you can play it as mono, stereo, or surround depending on what other hardware you had. Mono and stereo were mainly amplifiers and speakers. Surround required the surround sound processor to decode the 4 tracks.