surround in 21st centry


So … I just got a HUGE lesson in the complexities of surround system setup. recently, after completing the 5.1 surround mixes and DTS-CD of “chamberland”, I wanted to hear it in our second surround room. I put the disc in the player and ARRGGG! it was all wrong! what should’ve been in the rear was coming out of the front speakers and all sorts of things were going wrong on equipment that was about 8 years old, but perfectly capable of playing a DTS data-stream!

So … in order to check things out I took the disc to a local Magnolia HiFi (the original magnolia store) and played the disc. it played perfectly … in fact it sounded GREAT!

So … I then went about the task of replacing the entire system in the second room. The DVD player, the receiver … everything … and it still played back wrong! AAARRRGGG! What’s going on!

Next, we learned more about the audio setup settings in the DVD player (who would’ve thought that these would be important). The DTS-CD was fine … the DTS streamplayer proved this, but what was going wrong?

So … not being one to give up, I bought a new state-of-the-art reciever-amp and plugged it into the system … it didn’t work! the same thing happend, it was all squashed into (but not entirely) into the front LCR speakers. I was feeling sick now. THEN … we remembered to go back to the audio setup on the BluRay player. Sure enough, a whole “NEW” selection tab called “PCM multi-ch” showed up. It wasn’t there before, but now that we put in a new receiver … I selected it … AND IT WORKED PERFECTLY. the 5.1 mix sounded AWESOME!

Moral of the story … there really is none, except for the fact that surround remains a complex topic, requiring that you know WAY too much for your own good. I totally know that surround is being held back (if not killed) by idiot designers that want to put in new, whizbang buttons and settings to make it as complicated as possible. Hell, if it took me 3 days of intensive work and phonecalls with DTS, how is Joe Average supposed to listen to his favorite music in surround. This is just crazy!

But … now that I’ve learned my lesson … damn, does it sound good and I now have 2 pro 5.1 systems in my facility … a rare blessing indeed!