Steven Berlin Johnson geeks out with his stereo.

Steven B. Johnson, author of Emergence and former Feed honcho, describes his six-channel sound system in loving detail, and basically invites every thug in New York to come rip off his new Plasma TV.

Unfortunately, it’s very hard to track down true surround disks of music that I actually like — it seems like there are only about 100 SACD disks released thus far, and many of them only have two-channel mixes on them. But this past weekend I managed to get my hands on a six-channel SACD of Beck’s lovely Sea Change, which was already on heavy rotation in my house in its two-channel presentation. Apparently, the mix was done by surround legend Elliot Scheiner, and it’s certainly an aggressive approach. Some surround mixes keep most of the instruments and vocals up front, and just use the rear speakers for ambient noise and reverb, etc. Scheiner’s remix of Sea Change spreads the instruments around you: a clavinet behind your right ear, a bank of strings hovering in the middle of the room, a hammond organ swirling around the entire space. Hearing an album you’ve enjoyed for a while in stereo remixed this boldly is a revelation: you hear all the little details with an astonishing clarity.