Tested my surround sound setup for our front yard this AM.
* For authoring using Sony acid pro. Works great, no complaints. You can mix an arbitrary number of sound sources, each traversing the listening space on independent arbitrary paths.
* Getting XP to play an ac3 file is impressively hard. Of course I can play it back on the machine with Acid Pro, but if I want to use another machine, it is tough. Graphedit is super helpful for examining codec chain to see if you can play the media. Klite mega codec pack is good for getting codecs and tools.
* Despite all this, wmp only plays half the ac3s I give to it. The ones that do play — wmp gives me an error saying I am missing a codec. The ones that don’t play — just silently fail. Klite to the rescue again with wmp classic which seems to play them all.
* Using Turtle beach audioadvantage roadie for 5.1 output. Seems to work fine. Nice control panel to test surround features. I didn’t have to pay anything like the $80 MSRP for this device.
* Feeding the turtlebeach output via spdif to a generic av amp — bought the cheapest open-box unit i could find at bestbuy
Overall it sounds good. I have a much bigger listening area than typical for a home theatre install — and the impact seems to be that the center channel is a little too dominant. I’m going to experiment with moving the sound locus to further back in the listening field. And for my big lightning strikes, I may try 5 duplicate strikes, each positioned out at one of the speakers.
Oh and I am going to try some codec options to get WinAMP to play 5.1 via spdif.