3D 5.1 Surround Sound, Film and Media
Unless you have a great collection of Dolby digitally encoded DVDs or some of the more recent Dolby encoded PC games, 3D surround-sound samples are hard to come by. This page provides links to resources, sample sounds and guides to help you show off the capabilities of your 3D 5.1 surround sound system.
Brilliant 3D 5.1 Surround Sound and High Definition Video Samples
Windows Media Player 9 offers 5.1 surround sound and high definition video. Download these Microsoft clips, encoded at 24 fps at 1920 x 1080 resolution and show off your HD system. You will need a broadband connection because most of the clips are well over 100MB each.
Many more samples are available from Microsoft. You'll find the clips in Microsoft's WMV HD Content Showcase. It's worth a visit if you want some clips to demonstrate your system's audio and video capabilities.
Microsoft have also released a few, small and mostly non-functional 3D samples. When these links were put up, only two of them worked. Try them for yourself. They'll run in WMP 9 so you should be able to save them to disk after playing them once.
http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=26414 (World Beat)
http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=26411 (Racecars - broken)
http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=26412 (Pinball - broken)
http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=26413 (Snowboard - broken)
Listening to AC3 Digitally Encoded Files
The files that you download from these
links will have a .ac3 extension. Windows Media Player
users may not be able to add them to the WMP library, but WMP will play
Dolby Guides and Dolby VOB Trailers
Also has links to Dolby guides for X-box and PlayStation 2. Don't go looking on the Dolby site for audio samples. Dolby makes its money out of licensing its technology and trademark, so they'll be looking for you to fork out some cash for a demo CD. Nevertheless, the resource is excellent for finding out all about Dolby and its technologies.
Download a Gigabyte or so of brilliant audio/visual multimedia Dolby and DTS trailers in VOB format. You will need a software DVD player to see and hear these trailers. Depending on your system, you may not be able to play the DTS trailers. Try a Dolby trailer first, unless you know that your sound system supports DTS.
Covers, at a high level, mixing music for 5.1 surround sound, as well as "Baking your own CD-AC3 disc as a CD-R (or CD-RW)"
From the Kelly Industries website: "Kelly Industries creates Digital audio software plug-ins for a varity [sic] of host applications. These plug-ins are mostly in the area of surround sound, either for Dolby Pro Logic or the 5.1 speaker format."
The How To Listen a Dolby Digital Audio CDR guide covers off S/PDIF and discreet channel 5.1 surround sound and how best to position your equipment.
Click here for 200+ MB of compressed DTS .wav files and click here for 100 or so MB of Diatonis Dolby Digital AC3 downloads, courtesy of Kelly Industries.
You'll find a few smaller AC3 samples at Virtual Worlds Productions. Some of the links are dead but others were working when this article was written. TheWar.mp3 is only stereo, not AC3, but it is worth a download if you want a new and distinct sound for your doorbell.
Bjorn Lynne - Creme de la Creme
So, you want to hear some fine music in true 3D surround sound? Visit Bjorn Lynne. He has an extensive collection of stereo MP3 files here, and a very nice selection of AC3 digitally encoded files here. The AC3 files are also available in MP3 format. If you download both, you can compare the difference.
There's only one or two AC3 encoded files here, but Digital Audio Systems is an amazing resource for audiophiles. If you think you have a good sound system, download the garage1.mp3 in the Hi-Fi section and turn up the volume.
From the DAS web page, about garage1.mp3: "Sound of a, um, well, it's a garage door. But played at realistic sound levels (Mike Skeet should sound like he's about 6 feet away), this clip could damage an underpowered audio system! This is an especially stringent test of the dynamic range and low-bass capabilities of your system."
On the Mustang Sally clip: "Cover version of "Mustang Sally," sung by the Commitments (MCAD-10286). Visit your local guitar store and play this CD through a typical sound-reinforcement speaker. That visceral drumbeat which makes your eardrums close up in shock -- that's what it should sound like. Now go home and listen to it through your own system. Are you disappointed?"
The site also includes a binaural recording of Amazing Grace: "A binaural recording of "Amazing Grace" played as one might hear at a funeral procession in New Orleans, from AudioStax's "The Space Sound CD: Dummy Head Recording." The idea of binaural recordings is to reproduce a realistic soundstage by placing the microphones inside a "dummy head", then listening to the recording through headphones."
If you're a Simpsons fan, you might like to download bwaysimp.mp3 from the Sound System Trailers section on the same page.