Let me see if I can help you out a bit.
|I have also already done the MCACC sound test. I'm not sure what it really did but I did it anyway.|
Speaker Setting - Confirm that this is what you have.
Channel Level - Tells you what each speaker is set at
Speaker Distance - Confirm that this spec is close to your actual distances.
and on through the other selections.
|No surround sound when playing MP3's through the PS3/Linkstation. Only the front and center speakers are used when listening to music. This happens when listening to FM radio as well.|
If you want to hear Surround then you have to use "Ext. Stereo" this turns on all of your speakers or check out some other Hybrid Surround Effects.
|Watching .MKV movies from my laptop, using its HDMI out, will also not produce surround|
I have my HTPC connected to my VSX 1020 and my Elite VSX 52
My Gateway uses Cyberlink's PowerDVD 10 for DVD's and Blu-Rays and there is a setting under Audio Preferences as to how it sends Audio out and to my receiver.
I have it send " non decoded Digital Dolby/DTS to External Device" this way it lets my Pioneer produce the Audio.
The other setting is a PCM setting so you need to check the program that you use for your HDMI's Audio Out and what it is set at.
|Some TV channels, even HD ones, will do this to.|
If there is no Surround Signals present then your receiver cannot show what is not there...There is a saying.."Garbage In, Garbage Out!"
Not even all of my Pay channels like HBO or Encore has Surround!
I could go through my Time Warner Cable and tell you which stations have Surround and which do not, my receiver is on "ALC" if I see "Digital" I can expect Surround if I see "Stereo" I will not!
Right now I am watching "HD Theater" and my Surrounds are producing the program's Surround. I'm watching "OverHaulin'"
Sometimes you will find a channel like "HD Theater" and yet not ALL Programs have Surround.
Most old movies do not have Surround..you have to understand that it is not a problem with your receiver but the programming that it receives.
Like 3D, Surround is becoming more widely available.
This is why there are some Surround settings on your receiver that is producing kind of a Modified/Hybrid Surround Sound for you.
Like right now some commercials have Surround some do not, it is all in the production!
|I have tried the various surround options. Sometimes I cannot even change them for some reason, it mostly just shows as STEREO and only two speaker icons(the fronts) are shown.|
You will after a while discover where Surround is available.
I am beginning to know what TWC Channels have Surround and which ones do not, if I am on one that does not, I will choose a Hybrid Surround Setting or just use "Ext. Stereo" because then my Surrounds will come on.
Also in a Movie it may be a quiet scene with just a two people Dialog and no Surround..Then a chase scene will have a lot of Surround Activity.
Surround effect comes and goes, that is what Surround is all about!
It is for an Ambient Effect where needed and not to be abused.
If you just want your surround Speakers to stay on all the time, use "Ext. Stereo" and this turns on all of your speakers.
|I get surround when playing games or watching movies. Shouldn't I be able to expect surround sound for all sources?|
|Watching a bluray on PS3 doesn't use TrueHD sound codec. It wants to use PCM. Does this matter? Should I be worried about this? When/how do any of these codecs (trueHD, DTS, DTSMaster, etc) get used?|
You have to go into it's sound settings and I think change it to Bit-Stream.
I am not sure but there is a setting in the PS3 that needs to be set.
You can check the VSX 1020 and VSX 1120 Threads because I know on the previous models this was discussed a lot!
|My surround speakers, barely produce any sound for most inputs. Should they be louder?|
The MCACC initial Setup and Speaker Distance is important..Also the placement of the Reference Mic is critical for the initial Setup!
I used a tripod and placed the Mic by where I sit.
In my bedroom I put it in the middle of my Bed in a mini tripod on top of my VSX 1020 box. It wants a hard Surface to work off of.
I hope that this helps you out.
I think a lot of it is for you to understand what Surround is all about and that it is a very subjective effect from program to program and how they ( the Production Company) meant for their Surround effect to play into their production! It is a Highlight and discretionary to each production.
Good Luck and enjoy..Your probably a few tweaks away!