Microsoft recently unveiled details for a new feature in Windows Vista, something normally reserved for high-end AV receivers.
Some of these improvements include:
- System-wide Loudness equalization.
- Bass Management (get the bass channel even on systems without a subwoofer).
- Better support for surround sound systems up to 7.1 channels.
- Virtualized surround sound (Surround-->2 speakers)- mix 5.1 DVD's to headphones or standard desktop speakers.
- Virtual Surround (Stereo-->Surround)- turn 2-channel into surround sound for your receiver.
- Room Calibration - using a simple microphone, this profiler "listens" to the sound from each of your speakers to automatically adjust pitch and volume for where you're sitting in the room. The better the mic, the better the results.
System-wide equalization and no longer will I be forced to use Creative's buggy 3D audio thing to get stereo into my rear channels. Any old on-board soundcard will do the job assuming supported in the drivers; most Intel audio chips from the past 2 years are already supported even in RC1. This finally drags on-board chipsets (which are in over 90% of computers) up to the level even the most hardcore audio geeks demand.