5.1 Surround Sound and FLAC

Suggested configuration for 5.1 music listening (Wikipedia)

Suggested configuration for 5.1 music listening (Wikipedia)

Five point one (5.1) is the name for six channel surround sound multichannel digital audio systems, most commonly used in commercial cinemas and home theaters. It uses 5 full bandwidth channels (the “five”) and one low-frequency effects channel (the “point one”). The 5.1 system is used by Dolby Digital (AC3 codec), Sony Dynamic Digital Sound (SDDS), Digital Theater Systems (DTS), and Dolby Pro Logic II.

All 5.1 systems use the same speaker channels and configuration, having a front left (L) and right (R), a center channel (C), two surround channels (SL and SR) and a subwoofer (LFE).

Audio files for 5.1 systems are often encoded with the lossless FLAC codec. FLAC is an open format with royalty-free licensing and a reference implementation which is free software. FLAC has support for metadata tagging, album cover art, and fast seeking.

Lossy compression and encoding schemes for digital audio are MP3 and its successor AAC (Advanced Audio Coding). AAC has been standardized by ISO and IEC, as part of the MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 specifications. AAC is the standard audio format for YouTube, Apple (iPhone, iPod, iPad, …) and Sony devices (Playstation, Walkman, …). AAC is more advanced than the Dolby Digital AC3 codec.