I'm not sure bass management and channel steering etc should be done by the sound card.....It makes better sense for it to be software driven, which then means its compatible with *ANY* soundcard.
Originally Posted by Zapp Brannigan
I couldn't disagree more. This would mean that any piece of software that makes sound would have to have its own levels/delays/bass management/redirection setup.
I'm with Zapp. For those of us that are using the analog outs of sound cards directly to power amps, these functions definitely need to be done in the soundcard, because these are system-dependent variables. Once it's set up for the particular power amps, speakers, speaker locations, etc., it can stay fixed. And doing it in the soundcard would be doing it in 'software' anyway, just the soundcard's software (driver).
And on topic: It would be OK for individual multichannel apps to have level tweaks for all channels. I'm having the same problem with Power DVD Ultra -- I have my levels and distances set in my sound card driver for my main movie playback app (Zoom Player with the AC3Filter decoder) but for some reason the surround level seems low in PDVD Ultra. I'd like to be able to turn it up a bit, but can't since there are no PDVD controls.
And Zapp: I share your lament about the lousy sound card makers. They just don't seem to get it, over and over again. They design these sound cards that are purported to have super sound quality and then ruin it by not providing proper multichannel driver functionality. There are two or three exceptions, though:
M-Audio Revo 5.1 and 7.1 - the drivers for these have excellent controls, but the sound quality is not top notch.
Creative X-Fi Elite Pro - the driver for this has simple level, distance and crossover frequency control. The sound quality, especially when modded, is excellent. This is what I use at the moment.
E-Mu 1616m - this one is reported to have a "patchmix" app that can be manually set up to do good bass management. I haven't tried it yet.