Jay and C Paul here from the Bungie Audio Team here; we’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our fans for playing and listening to Halo: Reach (and all our games!). We’ve had a great response to the sound of Halo: Reach so far, and we’d like to help Halo fans make sure that they are getting the best possible audio experience when playing.
To do this, we’re releasing the Halo DVD Surround Sound Test online, and this FAQ covers how to use it. This fun little animated piece is something we made a few years back to test our own systems. It features a Grunt who calls out each of the five speakers in a surround sound system one by one.
Click the link below to download the Halo DVD Surround Sound Test. In order to test it on your Xbox 360, you will need to copy it to a USB drive in FAT32 format. Once you’ve got the file loaded onto the portable USB, insert it into your Xbox 360, browse to the Video Library in your media blade, and play the file.
Halo Surround Sound Test
(Right Click, Save As)
If your audio setup is 5.1 surround sound:
1. Set your console to “Dolby Digital 5.1” in System Setting->Console Settings->Audio->Digital Output
2. Make sure your receiver supports Dolby Digital and that you are plugged into it using an optical cable (toslink), or through HDMI.
3. Receiver is set to Dolby Digital and NOT Dolby Pro Logic II.
4. Turn off any audio processing that is being done in your home theater system. Our audio mix already contains real time audio effects that are based on where you are in the game.
5. If you have the kind of speakers that require you to hook the red and black wires up make sure that they are all identically set up and not reversed, otherwise your speakers will be out of phase (inverse polarity). Having your speakers out of phase causes things to sound really weird.
If your audio setup is stereo (only two speakers):
1. Set your Xbox 360 to “Digital Stereo” in System Setting->Console Settings->Audio->Digital Output
2. If you’re using a receiver that is capable of surround sound, but only have two speakers hooked up, make sure that your receiver is not set to decode the audio as Dolby Pro Logic II. Otherwise sound will be sent to speakers that aren’t there.
3. If you have the kind of speakers that require you to hook the red and black wires up make sure that they are all identically set up and not reversed, otherwise your speakers will be out of phase (inverse polarity). Having your speakers out of phase causes things to sound really weird. In stereo, sounds that should sound like they’re in the middle of the screen can be too soft or completely disappear.
Once you’ve double checked that your audio settings are up to snuff, it’s time to check it with the Halo DVD Surround Sound Test (dee dit deet dee!). In the test, a Grunt points to each speaker, as his voice comes out if it, then a Hunter rumbles the subwoofer (LFE) channel.
If your setup is 5.1 surround sound, you should hear the Grunt's voice come from each speaker that he’s indicating, followed by the Hunter rumbling the subwoofer. Things to watch out for:
1. If sound only comes from the front speakers, check that your Xbox 360 and your receiver are set to use Dolby Digital 5.1.
2. The Grunt dialog should emanate from the rear speakers separately. Listen carefully to where the sound comes from. If the Grunt sounds as if he comes from both of the rear speakers, you may be decoding the audio signal as Dolby Pro Logic II. Check that your Xbox 360 is set to Dolby Digital 5.1 and that your receiver is set to receive Dolby Digital 5.1.
3. If sound comes from individual speakers, but not from the appropriate ones, check that your speakers are connected to the correct outputs on your receiver.
4. If the Grunt sounds significantly louder when emanating from one speaker in comparison to another, you may need to rebalance your speaker gains (loudness). See the manual for your particular receiver on how to balance the speakers appropriately.
If your audio setup is Stereo, you should hear everything the Grunt says, but you will miss the beginning of the Hunter’s rumble, because the subwoofer channel is not used in stereo. Things to watch out for:
1. If you don’t hear the Grunt talking about speakers behind you, check to make sure that your Xbox and receiver are set to stereo, and not to either Dolby Digital or Dolby Pro Logic II. You may be sending signal to speakers that don’t exist.
2. If you don’t hear the Grunt say “center speaker!” or it sounds funny or too soft, then you may have your speakers out of phase (inverse polarity). See if your audio setup is stereo description above for how to fix that.
Thanks again for listening.