Originally Posted by joeblow
Let me back up. All along I said I had analog, someone above said digital. My analog setup has a receiver, 5 speakers and a subwoofer. That's 5.1. During audio position sweep tests, you can easily identify the left, center, and right speaker. When the test taps into the rear surround speakers, they come on just like the front ones do, but come on twice as a pair, not as individual speakers.
So the effect is definitely a surround sound effect, it's just that each of the rear speakers can't operate independent of each other even if they operate independent of the other three. In movies it sounds great. It may not be the latest technology, but it suits me well and I didn't want to spend extra money right now to upgrade.
In any case, I figured out a way to make the surround effect work just as well as it used to, so I'm a happy camper. Not only that, I got a free OTA calibration opportunity for HD broadcast stations tonight when ABC-HD played Toy Story 2.
My DVD player on the SXRD is Avia synch'd now, so I popped my Director's DVD cut of TS2 in simultaneously, and switched back and forth adjusting my cable settings until the broadcast signal looked as sweet as my HDMI 1080i DVD output does. I even matched up the sound levels for both so that I minimize the great change in sound when going between display signals. This will hold me until I get some ISF $$$ to get the calibration done right.
When you say 5.1, that means (to pretty much everyone, but you apparently) DD5.1, which means Dolby Digital
. DD5.1 sends 5 discrete channels of sound, one each to the 5 speakers. If your receiver can't support it, you can't use it at all, no matter how many speakers you have. It's a receiver issue.
What you have is Dolby Surround, which can only interpret 2 channels of sound. Those channels can include a third "surround" track, but it's very limited. So you are only getting front left and right, and a limited rear channel. Your receiver extrapolates what it thinks belongs in the center channel (by looking at what is common to the L/R channels in a certain audio band). It also pulls out the limited rear channel (it's weird sound wave math, to be backwards compatible - kind of like the L+R/L-R of early stereo TV days).
Dolby Surround is fine, but not for a home theater. It's just extremely limited in the sound, which is very important (for some people, more important than the video).
If you're going to upgrade, you should consider a 7.1 capable receiver. For 5.1 audio, it creates the other two channels, but it also supports DTS6.1. And 7.1 is just a more emmersive experience, expecially for movies.