there is a little gem hiding in some of the sony receivers and i'd like to share.
i'd prefer those of you who have (calibrated) analyzer microphones and calibrated equalizers.. because then i know you will have a higher chance of experiencing the same.
i had a calibrated microphone and used it to calibrate my front two speakers.
but the mic fell off of my lap before i could calibrate the rear speakers together with the front speakers.
it was an old dynamic microphone and i think when it hit the ground, the magnet shattered.
this left me with a solid reason to keep myself from using the rear surround speakers.
sometimes i used them to watch movies or play video games.. but i could tell that the equalizer calibration was lost.
besides, i am having trouble with my receiver setup.
if i want surround sound, i have two options.. use the digital input or the multi-channel input.
well i calibrated the equalizer using the 2 channel stereo inputs.
my soundcard doesnt encode the audio into dolby digital or DTS without a software purchase.
i would use it if i could calibrate the equalizer again.
but without the ability to encode to dobly digital or DTS .. the digital output of the soundcard doesnt output audio from the rear speakers.
and the only way to make those speakers work is to use the analog multi-channel inputs.
but if i use those inputs, the equalizer on the receiver disables.
i used the equalizer on the receiver to help flatten out my frequency response.. and thus, i really need it to be activated.
**now on to the digital cinema sound**
i decided to cut my losses and use the front speakers only since they are calibrated.
but i really missed listening to music with the rear speakers filling the room with sound.
so i decided it was time to mess around with the different surround formats on the receiver.
what i discovered really blew me away.
see, i had some peerless speakers from the NHT VT3, VR3 and VC3 loudspeakers.
the room had a 10ft ceiling and the floor was carpeted, with a cloth couch.
i tried these surround formats at the old house and didnt know what i was doing.
i thought the different modes were a gimmick and a childish attempt to make the room sound bigger.
but after gaining some knowledge.. some 9 years later.. i tried them again with my new speakers and new living room environment.
this new room has 7ft ceilings with ceramique tiles covering the floor.
there is hardly any fabric in the room whatsoever.
i tried to use the digital cinema sound modes more maturely, using the same equalizer calibration.
the first and most important thing i did was turn on the 'virtual speakers'
that turned my rear speakers on.
but then i adjusted the effect level with all of the audio experience and knowledge i had gathered.
i turned the effect all the way up and began turning it down until i couldnt hear the echoes in the voices anymore.
then i realized that the screen depth on 'deep' helps expand the sound.
what i had before me was a soundstage that is obviously wider thanks to the rear speakers playing audio with the front speakers.
i have two speakers in the front and two in the back.. no center channel.
but the digital sound processing is mind blowing.
my speakers sounded really obnoxious before the equalizer calibration.
they stood out and i could pinpoint their location.
the best i could do was use the time alignment that came with the soundcard.
this helped a little bit.. but really didnt stand a chance compared to having the rear speakers turned on.
using the soundcard to split the stereo audio into all four speakers and adjusting the distance and angles really moved me.
the sound was everywhere and i couldnt tell where any speaker was.
basically the gaps between the speakers where gone, but the best part was the feeling that the walls on the sides were removed.
i lost the use of the timing alignment with the soundcard because i am using only 2 channel output to keep my equalizer calibration.
but using the digital cinema sound brought the rear speakers back AND it sounds just as good as when i was using the soundcard to split stereo into surround with timing alignment for each speaker.
i am no longer listening to music from speakers in front and to the left and right of me.
what i hear now is sound that totally surrounds me.. which sounds spacious and makes this 12ft x 13ft room feel like i have a vast amount of elbow room.
i dont hear any of the stupid echoes because i turned the effect down just enough to make that stop.
i quickly learned the difference between mode A, B, and C.
mode A is for just about anything.
mode B is for movies with special effects.
mode C is for 'sound scoring'
i could tell that there are clear differences and i liked mode A for most things.. but mode B was good for video games.
mode C was perfect for hearing the audio mastering in a different way.
i decided to finalize my experimentation with adding effects from the soundcard.
i have my creative xfi soundcard set to 2 channel stereo.
then i turned on the virtual 3D surround to see if it would make the spacious sound even more spacious.
as it turns out, using CMSS 3D with digital cinema mode B raised the level of detail and clarity, as well as removing all of the obnoxious optimizations put in place for special effects.
mode A without CMSS 3D was good.
but after trying mode B with CMSS 3D.. there are more details and clarity to be heard.
its as if the signal to noise ratio went up enough to allow the details to be passed along to the speakers.
the CMSS 3D slider is set at 50%
i am hearing so many fades in the audio that my energy emitted from my body is changing.
i mean.. i hear bass fades, midrange fades, and treble fades.
they are small.. but they are left to right, diagnal, and even front to back.
i do believe i have even heard some curves..!
TL : DR - digital cinema mode B with creative xfi CMSS 3D (virtual surround sound) centered between front and surround.
2 channel stereo on the soundcard, with front l/r and rear l/r speakers connected to the receiver.
the audio is SPACIOUS.
you can read a little bit about digital cinema sound here:http://www.sony.co.uk/hub/1237476652649/2/2
if you have a sony receiver with the digital cinema sound .. and a creative xfi soundcard, i suggest you try this out and improve your listening experience by a few hundred dollars.
giving thanks to those audio engineers who have done their job and shared with me.