Receivers with Audyssey: Audyssey does not work with multichannel input. if you are going from your nice gaming sound card via direct analog to the receiver, all of those setups and measurement things make no difference. For this reason, you would do well to have a "home theater oriented" sound card.
Does this product exist? Something with per-channel crossover, equalizer, etc? Aside from HDMI for 5.1/7.1+ and optical/coax +DDL/DTS-Connect, I see no way to get multichannel output from PC to receiver.
Another thing I have learned: Zone2, in the vast majority of receivers, only works with analog input sources. If you have your xbox playing tunes over optical or HDMI and want it to output via zone2 instead of mains, you are SOL.
A question I had in particular: How do you know what sound format a game is meant for? Movies often tell you when they have a dts soundtrack or a dolby soundtrack. Do games tell you if they were meant for 2.0 vs if they were recorded in 2.0 and upscaled to 5.1/7.1 vs if they were designed with a multichannel audio setup in mind?
Skyrim has a decent set of multichannel effects, but Darksiders (as far as I know) doesnt. Enabling dts-connect on my sound card yields no real solution.
For computer audio via HDMI, there seems to be no way to do a purely audio HDMI signal. IE if I am using DVI to monitors and want HDMI to receiver, the receiver WILL be recognized as another monitor. On a similar note, the HDMI cable, from an audio perspective, seems to be always treated as multiple PCM streams.
For example, lets set windows sound to 5.1 mode, and use HDMI to go to the receiver and play a 2.0 source file. The stream the receiver gets is actually 3/2/.1 rather than 2/0/.0. If you use WASAPI, it will receive the proper 2/0/.0 stream though. Does this mean that every time i want to switch between 2.0 and 5.1 and 7.1 audio I need to go into windows and change my speaker configuration in order to get the right stream? Theres no such thing as system wide wasapi unless you are using something like ReClock, which can be a pain to set up correctly. Even with reclock, the audio stream is treated "incorrectly". You might get a 3/2/.1 stream while playing 2.0 but the music only comes out of the L and R channels like its supposed to. Its just very annoying to play a 2.0 file and get a 5.1 output going to the receiver.
Lets get some tips and discussion going!