Wise words of Walter Murch:
I think it’s generally misleading to say, “Well, that sequence had eighty tracks, it must be great.” Ideally, for me, the perfect sound film has zero tracks. You try to get the audience to a point, somehow, where they can imagine the sound. They hear the sound in their minds, and it really isn’t on the track at all. That’s the ideal sound, the one that exists totally in the mind, because it’s the most intimate. It deals with each person’s experience, and it’s obviously of the highest fidelity imaginable, because it’s not being translated through any kind of medium.
So, at a certain point, there were 160 tracks for Apocalypse. That is an awful lot, but on the other hand, if somehow I could have achieved the same effect with no tracks, I would have been more impressed. Or one track. If there had been one sound that did all of that, so mysteriously, I would be more impressed. but what that means is: thinking very, very deeply, and being very, very lucky in getting exactly the right thing. And if you can do that, then the number of tracks is meaningless. But, generally speaking, it doesn’t happen very often, if ever, to get that one thing. That’s just an abstract ideal that I always strive for.