Monday, April 11, 2005

On 5.1 sound

Well, it's quite late, and I spent the last 4 days not getting much work done. We are late in the development cycle at my day job and I am in desperate need of two weeks off. My problem with contract work is I have to pay for my own vacations. So I haven't gotten proper R&R in over a year. All those weeks of problem solving and design, of never turning my brain off, have caught up with me. Anyway, I have a new toy to distract me.

Dell had a low price on Logitech Z-5500 desktop speakers. My primary interest was the number of inputs: six. Four analog and two digital which means no more unplugging my PC to give an input for my Powerbook, etc. And it's my first foray into the wonderful world of Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. My Sony DVD player is more than happy to output 96/24 (whatever that means) over the coaxial digital line, so I can watch movies on my widescreen 20.1" LCD monitor while being immersed in sound waves. I watched the Two Towers tonight and I am just amazed how much proper sound adds to the effect. Sonically, it is more real than real. Amazing.

And this is with the subwoofer set to 1 on an 11 point loudness scale, and the satellites at 3. I wouldn't want to keep the downstairs neighbors up.

I also bought a cheap Turtle Beach Audio Advantage Micro USB to optical adaptor, which does not give my Powerbook 5.1 output unfortunately, but does give it beautiful, hum-free, stereo output. iTunes sounds better than I've ever heard it. What a bargain.