do NOT use any of the stupid sony predefined sound fields. they are horrible.
i have a few year old model ES sony receiver and have several posts on how to set up these sony's for listening and configuring these receivers for your different surround sound settings. if you want full explanations i have posts under the strda-da2400ES.
but, here is the core of what you need to do and look for. most people actually NEVER set up their sony correctly. let me break some of the confusion.
1) when you set up your receiver for the amount and configuration of your speakers you are actually either turning on or off certain surround sound codecs built into the sony.
2) look at your remote and you will see a button usually called AFD (some of the newer remotes might use 2 buttons labeled Sound Field). This is the most important button on your remote in terms of surround sound. this button will determine what happens INSIDE the sony's built in logic on how to output audio to the speakers - but depending on how you configure your surround sound settings.
3) let me break down the 3 options when you press the AFD button or Sound Field Buttons.
when you hit this button you are switching the audio codecs inside the sony. here is a break down:
a) this one is critical to understand and throws people off bad some times. if your audio source is output from it's source a MULTI CHANNEL audio then the blue light comes on. What is multi channel to sony? It is anything that has a subwoofer channel combined with at least 2 channels of audio (2.1, 5.1, 7.1) or 4 channel audio (4.0). What is NOT and will not turn on the blue light? anything that is standard 2 channel audio (2.0) as well as LPCM.
but, the sony has surround sound options for all of these.
b) for MULTI CHANNEL audio - when multi channel audio is input sony uses PASS THROUGH on the audio and does NOT convert the audio unless you force it. If you have an audio source that is 5.1 of any variety sony will output to the speakers exactly as the sound engineer intended. that means your back speakers might not always be on depending on when the audio engineer wants them to play. that can be good and be bad for some people. If the blue light is ON there is nothing you can do. you must listen to it the way it was intended. you CAN mess with the stupid sound effects sony has built in but they completely screw up the audio so bad they are dumb. you can push the AFD button or the Sound Field buttons and the blue light should stay on the sound should not be affected unless you get into the stupid sony sound effects.
c) for NON multi channel audio such as 2 channel audio and LPCM you have a TON of options. each sony, depending on the model with the lower end models having some features stripped out, you can have the sony "emulate" surround sound and you have quite a few options.
when you push the AFD button or the Sound Field buttons you will be given options such as AFD, Multi Stereo, E-Surround (on some models), Analog Direct (if not a different button completely). For the E-Surround this might be a feature shown and on some newer models they eliminate the E-Surround and show the individual settings that were originally under the E-Surround option. so it depends on the sony you have as what is shown but effectively each sony will do the same thing in the end.
AFD: what goes in comes out. I do NOT recommend leaving your sony on AFD because I think most people who have surround sound want to be able to hear audio on their rear speakers and other speakers such as center channel when there is only 2 channel audio or LPCM audio input. If you leave it on AFD then when 2 channel audio is input or LCPM is input you will ONLY hear the front 2 speakers. when there is multi channel audio input and the blue light comes on then you are outputing the multi channel stereo as normal and it is not affected and the rear speakers and other speakers will play when they are supposed to play. AFD basically says what is input is what is output. The "A" is "auto" and that means it automatically does what is supposed to do.
Multi-Channel: I actually prefer this option. When you have 2 channel audio or LCPM then it takes that 2 channel audio and duplicates the 1 left channel on all left speakers and the 1 right channel on all right speakers. effectively you now hear audio on all the rear speakers. if you have Sirius or XM or you are listening to AM/FM radio you are going to get 2 channel audio or LCPM so this option allows you hear all speakers play those 2 audio channels. same with Xbox or Playstation that have just standard left and right audio outputs. you can now hear that standard 2 channel audio on all your speakers.
E-Surround (if shown as an option) or ProLogic or Neo options:
This is my favorite setting. In the slightly older sony models you had to make a permananent selection in the sony GUI screen and you had to choose between 1 Dolby ProLogic option -or- Neo6 option. Depending upon the speaker configuration you are going to be given most likely 1 ProLogic option because each ProLogic option is based on specific speaker configurations. I believe x is 5 channel and z is 7 channel, etc. Neo6 to many people actually sounds better. Both ProLogic and Neo6 do effectively the same thing - that is they take NON multi channel audio and process the audio and try to break up the audio into a "simulated" or "enhanced" surround sound. Neither option works when there is a multi channel audio exists - only when there is 2 channel audio or LPCM. I personally think Neo6 breaks the sound up better and presents a more realistic rear channel audio - and it is a newer technology. However, you can select back and forth and see what you like best. I suggest finding an older movie or older DVD that is only 2 channel audio and listen to the differences between the 2 option. Maybe a video game too would be better.
(in newer units the ProLogic and Neo6 might be broken out into their own selection options. in slightly older sony units you had to choose between 1 of the 2 in the GUI setup process and it was selected when you select E-Surround)
so, your options are for 2 channel audio and LPCM either Multi Stereo option or E-Surround (if it is shown as an option) or ProLogic or Neo6.
anything that is input as multi channel audio you cannot change (maybe unless you choose the stupid sony sound fields which i say are awful sounding)
so, you can just leave your sony set to either Multi-Stereo or one of the ProLogic or Neo6 options. just leave it set that way. when 2 channel or LCPM is input your selected option will take over. when you have a multi stereo input those selections go away and the sony receiver outputs exactly what is input. so, set your receiver to what you want the 2 channel and LCMP to output as.