F.A.Q. Frequently Asked Questions

v1.0

Index

General Questions

What is so special with MySurround web site ?

What is Surround Music ?

Why is it so innovative ?

I see different types of files to download – what should I do ?

What is « Surround equipment » ?

Are the files sold on MySurround guaranteed to work on any type of surround equipment ?

Which equipment do you recommend ?

Which Home Cinema equipment do you recommend ?

Which PC equipment do you recommend ?

Is Surround Music compatible with my Home Cinema installation ? Or let's put it this way...is it possible that the files bought on this web site will not work for me ?

What if I listen to surround music without surround equipment ? Is a Surround CD compatible with any CD-player ?

Are your Surround Music files compatible with a 2.1 home cinema ?

Are your Surround Music files compatible with a 5.1 home cinema ?

Are your Surround Music files compatible with a 7.1 home cinema ?

Commercial questions

Which format(s) am I allowed to download once I have paid ?

How long are the files available to download ?

Are those files free ?

Are those files protected against copy ?

Why should I pay for music ?

Which payment means are available ?

Account and Invoice

Personal information and Confidentiality

How do I contact you ?

Technical Questions

What are DBR files ?

What are Surround CDs ?

Are they identical to “SACD” ?

Do you sell Surround CDs ?

How do I make a (test) Surround CD ?

Is it important to do a test Surround CD before anything else ?

How do I make a (music) Surround CD ?

How to listen to surround music on Home Theater equipement ?

Listening to a Surround CD on the DVD player

Can I use a Multimedia Hard Drive to play the surround music files ?

Can I use streaming on my LAN ?

Can I use a USB key ?

How to listen to surround music on a PC

How to listen to surround music on an iMac

How to listen to surround music on other devices

Portable players

BeOS computers

Which cable/connection should I use on a computer ? Speakers ? SPDIF ? HDMI ?

Test files

Weblinks

Web sites with several surround test or music files

Web sites with general or technical information on surround music



General Questions

What is so special with MySurround web site ?

In a nutshell:

  • MySurround is the very first international commercial portal of surround music. You will buy music files of selected artists every month which you can listen to on Home Theater or on a computer with surround speakers.

  • MySurround provides surround music files (“dbr.wav” files) which are ready-to-burn on simple, low-priced CDs, as if they were normal stereo audio-CDs, but are actually what we call Surround-CDs. Those Surround-CDs are designed to be played on DVD Players of Home Cinema installations (and also computers equipped with surround sound cards and speakers). They will play music in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround ! Important note: Surround CDs are not guaranteed to work on ALL types of equipment and are not compatible with stereo CD-players.

  • Surround music on MySurround is specifically produced by partners to be played on surround equipment. It depends on the style of music: the more modern the music is, the more spectacular the experience can be. The end-effect can be relatively familiar for styles like classical music, enveloping with relaxation music, up to hypnotic with electronic music.

  • MySurround encourages artists to compete for the monthly selection.

What is Surround Music ?

Surround Music is music which is specifically produced and formatted to be played on multichannel systems, i.e. surround equipment(*)

Why is it so innovative ?

Surround music just is. Well, imagine being surrounded by artists, each playing his music, while you're at the heart and convergence of all the music. This would be a tremendous experience, wouldn't it ? That's only part of what surround music provides.

With this experience, for a start, you can enjoy a more traditional approach, like listening to a band or an orchestra with some kind of ambiance in the loudspeakers, giving you the impression that you are really in a club or a concert hall.

Or you can enjoy a really unusual experience with weird electronic music sounds traveling all over the space. You are already familiar with stereo effects, like sounds getting from the left to the right, aren’t you ? Now you can hear sounds moving from one speaker to another, whether in front, rear, left or right. Surround music takes the frontier of imagination well beyond the limitations of stereo.

I see different types of files to download – what should I do ?

We recommend to download at least DBR.WAV, DBR.AC3 and DBR.MP3 files. They should be available by default.

More information is here.

In-depth information is here.

What is « Surround equipment » ?

This is music equipment which is multichannel, i.e. with more than two speakers. This is a “Home Cinema” (or “Home Theater”) installation, and this is most of the time the way you can get the best experience, because the sound quality is significantly better than anything else. All devices must be Dolby ® Digital compliant: DVD-Player and Amplifier. They must be connected with a digital link (coax or optical).

Surround equipments encompass Personal Computers as well, provided they are equipped with a surround sound card and speakers.

It is also good to mention that surround headphones (also called “5.1 headphones”) do actually exist. Take a look on the Internet, and compare the quality.

Are the files sold on MySurround guaranteed to work on any type of surround equipment ?

Definitively NOT. The music produced by our partner DBR Prod matches the current state of the art, but for now, the state of the art cannot ensure 100% compatibility with every type of equipment around the world.

In order to make a Surround CD work, several parameters are beyond the scope of MySurround: the quality of your CD-R, the burning speed that you choose, the quality of the CD-DVD burner. Then, once the CD is burnt, the Surround CD will work depending on the quality of the CD-DVD Player, on the quality of the digital interface between the CD/DVD player and your amplifier, and generally speaking the compliance of all equipments to technical standards. As you will see, it is advised to do some testing on your own before buying anything on MySurround.

Which equipment do you recommend ?

The required equipment is similar to that needed to listen to DVD in surround, whether on PC or on the DVD reader in your living room. If your current installation is surround-compatible, then all you need is to download our free test files to check if it works for you.

We don't recommend any specific equipment as such. As far as sound quality is concerned, you will get advised by your nearest dealer of Home Cinema equipment, or comparison web sites.

The rule is: the better the equipment is, the better experience you'll get. But you could have guessed that!

Which Home Cinema equipment do you recommend ?

None specifically, as stated before.

However, we may add that we recommend the use of the optical interface (OPT, or OPTICAL connector on the rear of the DVD Reader and amplifier). According to numerous tests made by DBR Prod, OPT interface works sometimes better than the COAX interface.

Which PC equipment do you recommend ?

In terms of hardware, none specifically, as stated before. Any 5.1 (or more) hardware should work satisfactorily, however we cannot guarantee all combinations will work.

In terms of software, we may add that we recommend the use of VLC Media Player at first place see www.videolan.org/vlc. This freeware has been successful in all tests led by DBR Prod – see (*).

Winamp (www.winamp.com) is in second place. The free version of Winamp is enough, no actual need to get the pro version.

Is Surround Music compatible with my Home Cinema installation ? Or let's put it this way...is it possible that the files bought on this web site will not work for me ?

Yes, that's sad but true, but let's face it, even so-called « standards » don't work sometimes. Our current partner company DBR Prod (contact@dbrprod.com) provides us with surround music files that are labeled « DBR Format », which means those files are produced with the best level of compatibility worldwide, but you can never be sure it will work. This is why we provide free test files.

Don't spend your money buying songs and albums on our site before making sure that your equipment and CD-Rs are compatible.

We also use the know-how of our partner company DBR Prod, which provides us with their DBR-format files, i.e. formats that have been extensively tested. Music files bearing the following logo will have the best chances to play correctly on your installation:




What if I listen to surround music without surround equipment ? Is a Surround CD compatible with any CD-player ?

The answer to the first question is: it depends. The answer to the second question is a DEFINITE NO.

If your DVD-reader is surround-compatible, it may provide a downmix of surround music, i.e. a conversion of surround music to stereo. For instance, it happens that you can hear surround music on your surround hi-fi installation and at the same time hear a stereo downmix on your TV set – assuming that your DVD-reader or amplifier is connected to your TV set, which is usually the case.

If things turn wrong, it simply happens that only painful digital noise is played. Therefore, we strongly advise to turn down the volume before playing our files. We also provide test files.

Are your Surround Music files compatible with a 2.1 home cinema ?

We cannot guarantee that all configurations are compatible but, yes, it should be, however we don't recommend this configuration as it doesn't provide a satisfying musical experience.

Are your Surround Music files compatible with a 5.1 home cinema ?

We cannot guarantee that all configurations are compatible but, yes, it should be, and that's the kind of configuration that we recommend.

Are your Surround Music files compatible with a 7.1 home cinema ?

We cannot guarantee that all configurations are compatible but, yes, it should be, and even if it is not necessary to have two more speakers, you may well find it enhances the experience.

Commercial questions

Which format(s) am I allowed to download once I have paid ?

All of those available if you like, without supplement. We strongly suggest you to download at least DBR.WAV, DBR.AC3 and DBR.MP3 files.

You will use DBR.WAV files to burn your own surround CDs.

You will use DBR.AC3 files to listen surround music on most computers and also burn Audio-DVD, provided you bought the right software.

You will use DBR.MP3 to listen to the music without 5.1 equipment and also burn an Audio-CD if you like.

How long are the files available to download ?

Single titles are available for one hour.

Full albums are available for four hours.

Are those files free ?

No they're not, unless specified. You have to buy the songs. Moreover, from a legal perspective, you are not allowed to copy, transfer, redistribute the files you bought or got for free, unless specific songs are under specific licenses.

Are those files protected against copy ?

No, they are not. They are just protected by copyright laws and ethic.

Why should I pay for music ?

The artists on this site have put in a lot of effort and know-how to provide you with their music, so please be fair and do help them. We also spend much time and effort compiling this music and have to pay for sub-contractants. Please let this web site be known and help it remain active by contributing financially.

    Which payment means are available ?

As of June 2009, prepaid card and code “Ticket Surf” was the only payment means and only available in French-speaking countries (http://www.ticket-surf.com).

Since April 2010, you can now pay from anywhere with Visa, Mastercard and Paypal.

Account and Invoice

Before you buy any music, you need to create an account. Contrary to other web sites asking you many personal details, the required information on MySurround is very basic: just a valid e-mail address.

Having an account is necessary to manage interrupted downloads (should it happen) and your purchase basket. The e-mail is necessary to send you an electronic copy of your bill.

Personal information and Confidentiality

We simply do not forward your e-mail address to third-party companies. If you receive unwanted e-mails, please don't blame us.

How do I contact you ?

General contact e-mail: contact@mysurround.com

Please note that we cannot guarantee a delay for replies.



Technical Questions

What are DBR files ?

Our partner company DBR Prod has defined sub-formats of existing audio formats which have been tested and are considered to be the most convenient and as compatible as possible with surround equipments. These DBR files contain music in multichannel formats. DBR Prod has not defined a newer audio encoding algorithm, it has defined a set of the most relevant parameters of audio encoders.

MySurround provides DBR files with several audio encoding schemes, therefore you will find:

DBR.WAV are multichannel wav files which can be used to write Surround CDs. You can also listen to them on computers. They are provided in a zip file because it saves a lot of space and bandwidth to download. For those into technical details, they are AC3 encoded files encapsulated into WAV files, something called Dolby® Digital Wave..

DBR.AC3 are AC3 files which you can listen on computers, provided you have an AC3 filter, which is mostly the case on computers with DVD players (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ac3 for information and see for instance ac3filter.net for AC3 filters). AC3 is an audio encoding format by Dolby Labs®.

DBR.WMA are Microsoft® proprietary multichannel audio files which can be played on computers equipped with Microsoft Media Player and/or with WMA audio (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Media_Audio)

DBR.OGG are multichannel audio files encoded with the open standard OGG (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogg), sometimes also know as Vorbis.

Other formats might come in the future

The only exception are DBR.MP3 files which are not surround-encoded but only stereo.

As stated before, our recommendation is to download at least DBR.WAV, DBR.AC3 and DBR.MP3 files. Here's why:

DBR.WAV will allow you to burn a Surround CD.

DBR.AC3 will allow you to listen to surround music on most computers, and also burn Audio-DVD if you have the relevant software.

DBR.MP3 will allow you to listen to the music you bought on ANY stereo installation, without having to bother with a Surround-to-stereo conversion. For instance if you want to listen to an artist even though you have no surround equipment, or if you have a home cinema at home but want to listen to the songs on the move with a portable MP3 player.

As listed above, other DBR file formats are sometimes provided. Download them only if your installation accepts these formats.

What are Surround CDs ?

These are CDs with surround music, which can be played on the DVD-Readers of Home Theater installations. In order to do this, you have to use DBR.WAV files.

Are they identical to “SACD” ?

Not at all. “SACD” stands for “Super Audio CD” (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Audio_CD). SACD are not relevant for our web site: much too high-end and DRM copy-protected.

Do you sell Surround CDs ?

No, or at least not yet, until we find a way of keeping prices down.

We sell music files, and among them are DBR.WAV files which you can use to burn your own Surround CD on CD-R.

How do I make a (test) Surround CD ?

The process is really straightforward, just as you would do to burn a usual audio CD. We guess you know how to burn a standard audio CD, however there are a few handy hints therefore we'll give you some guidance on our web page « FAQ » / « Tutorial » just in case.

Is it important to do a test Surround CD before anything else ?

Definitely yes. Surround CDs with DBR.WAV files might not work on any equipment. Therefore, before you buy any music, we strongly advise to make some tests.

How do I make a (music) Surround CD ?

If you've done the Test CD as previously described, then you know the procedure.

If you haven't done the Test CD, we can only advise you to do it.

How to listen to surround music on Home Theater equipement ?

Listening to a Surround CD on the DVD player

Important: TURN DOWN the volume of your amplifier before playing the Surround CD. Just in case your surround CD may be poor quality and generate loud digital noise.

Play the Surround CD with your DVD-player just as you would do with a standard DVD.

Your amplifier should automatically detect 5.1 surround music and show it on its display.

Can I use a Multimedia Hard Drive to play the surround music files ?

Theoretically yes. Practically, the answer is variable.

Some brands don't implement surround at all (check the specs for accepted formats), or implement it incorrectly (they perform a “downmix”, i.e. conversion from surround to stereo, before sending to the amplifier). Surround music might just end up stereo on those devices. Do some testing on your own with the files we provide.

Can I use streaming on my LAN ?

Same answer as the previous question.

Can I use a USB key ?

Same answer as the previous question.

How to listen to surround music on a PC

As stated before, we have a strong recommendation for the freeware VLC Media Player: www.videolan.org/vlc

It seems to be one of the most tolerant to standards according to our partner company DBR Prod, except for DBR.WMA files which are best read using Windows Media Player.

VLC seems to be the only player to fully support DBR.WAV files, whether directly read from a hard disk or from a Surround CD. Most other players will simply play horrible digital noise.

With all respect to Apple, Quicktime Player is not really recommended for the time being because it is far from compatible with every format.

How to listen to surround music on an iMac

It appears that VLC Media Player is available on Mac OS X. See www.videolan.org/vlc

However, tests have not been done yet.


How to listen to surround music on other devices

Portable players

Mp3 players, Mp4 players, Ipods®, etc. have not been tested – there are actually far too many devices to test them all.

As a rule of thumb, we may guess that if a device is DVD compatible, it probably reads whether DBR.WAV files or DBR.AC3 files, or both. Do some testing and let us know !

BeOS computers

BeOS computers: VLC Media Player seems available on BeOs machines, see www.videolan.org/vlc

However, tests have not been done yet, therefore we cannot guarantee it works.

Which cable/connection should I use on a computer ? Speakers ? SPDIF ? HDMI ?

If you have successfully experienced surround sound with a DVD, it should work with our music files.

Connecting a 5.1 speaker set to the outputs of a sound card seems to be what works best.

Sometimes the sound card digital interface (SPDIF or HDMI) restricts itself to a stereo output. It seems standards are not correctly implemented by manufacturers.

Test files

Here are the test files:

Test dbr.ac3

Test dbr.wav

Test dbr.ogg

Test dbr.wma



Weblinks

Web sites with several surround test or music files

At present, they are almost non-existant.



(Swedish but english written)

www.sr.se/cgi-bin/mall/index.asp?ProgramID=2446



(Norvegian but english written)

nrk.no/magasin/ulyd/4598546.html



(English)

www.diatonis.com/downloads_dts_ac3.html

www.lynnemusic.com/surround.html



(French)

lamaisonacousmate.free.fr/telechargements.htm (very small bandwidth and sometimes unavailable)



Web sites with general or technical information on surround music

(English)

www.dolbydigital.com/

www.dtsonline.com/

www.kellyindustries.com/sounds.html

hometheater.about.com/od/beforeyoubuy/a/surroundsound.htm

www.mp3-tech.org/

ac3filter.net/guides/ac3filter_spdif

www.atsc.org/standards/a52.php

www.hdmi.org/learningcenter/presentations.aspx



(Spanish)

es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surround

es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sistemas_de_sonido_multicanal



(Norvegian but english written)

nrk.no/magasin/ulyd/4598546.html



(French)

fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Son_multicanal

multiphonie.free.fr/le_plan.htm

http://www.lesonmulticanal.com/



(German)

www.fabiankeil.de/mehrkanal-cd-faq.html





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