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3D 5.1 Channel Surround Sound

This page provides links to resources, sample sounds and guides to help you show off the capabilities of your XP-based 3D 5.1 surround sound system. 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 generally hard to come by, but not anymore.

High Definition Sound & Video Samples

Windows Media Player 9 and later offer 5.1 surround sound plus high definition video. Download these Microsoft clips, encoded at 24 fps at 1920 x 1080 resolution and show off your HD system. You may need a broadband connection because the clips are quite large: 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 has also released a few, small and mostly non-functional 3D samples. This next demo is intended to let you to compare stereo MP3 encodings with "the full multichannel audio experience of the Windows Media Audio Professional codec." So, experience "the full multichannel audio experience of the Windows Media Audio Professional codec."
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 100 or so MB of Diatonis Dolby Digital AC3 downloads, courtesy of Kelly Industries.

How To Create a Dolby Digital Audio CDR

If you have Adobe Premiere Pro, you have to see this.
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 updated. TheWar.mp3 is only stereo, not AC3, but it is worth the trouble to download if you want a new and distinct sound for your doorbell or mobile phone.

WARNING: Nuclear-blast-proof goggles are required before visiting Virtual Worlds Productions.

Bjorn Lynne - Crème de la Crème

So, you want to hear some fine music in true 3D surround sound? Visit Bjorn Lynne. He has an extensive collection of Midi 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.

Bjorn Lynne is the musician who composed all the background music for the amazingly popular Worms series of games.
Digital Audio Systems

There are only a very few AC3 encoded files on the Digital Audio Systems website but it 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" 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.

There's even something for Cheech & Chong fans.

Cool Audio Software


MediaCoder is a free universal audio/video batch transcoder, putting together lots of excellent audio/video codecs and tools from the open source community into an all-in-one solution, capable of transcoding among different audio/video formats with many extra features:
  • Improve compression & reduce file size
  • Convert from lossless/high-bitrate audio to low-bitrate audio to play with portable DAP
  • Convert to device (mobile phone, PDA, MP4 player, PSP, VCD/DVD player)
  • Extract audio tracks from video clips
  • Ripping CD/VCD/DVD
Audacity® is a free, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. You can use Audacity to:
  • Record live audio
  • Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs
  • Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, and WAV sound files
  • Cut, copy, splice, and mix sounds together
  • Change the speed or pitch of a recording
  • Dub over existing tracks to create multi-track recordings
  • Import sound files, edit them, and combine them with other files or new recordings.
  • Export your recordings in several common file formats And more.
  • Full list of features.