New projects always engender new questions, and here's my latest. In attempting to mix together a 7.1 track, I have encountered a speaker designation I not only have never seen before, but cannot, for the life of me, pin down just where this hypothetical speaker would be positioned in a home theater.
"Front left of center" and "front right of center". The names suggest.. what? That they go between the center speaker and the two fronts? That sounds ridiculous. It's a poor description that leaves me scratching my head. I was taking it for granted that 7.1 channels pretty much has to mean L,R,C,LFE,SL,SR,BL,BR. Are these "front ___ of center" speakers actually the sides? The backs? The mix itself is unfortunately not adequately decipherable in a headphone or editing environment.
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But it seems like the problem I'm facing actually doesn't have anything to do with that. After comparing a few 7.1 mixes with their 5.1 counterparts, I've had to conclude that eac3to is mislabeling the extra two channels in the 7.1 mix when it decodes them, or else that the channels are somehow mislabeled internally and eac3to is simply passing the descriptions along. This caused me a lot of confusion and many hours of struggling with the problem.
Anyway, I think I now know how to interpret eac3to's labels when it decodes a 7.1 stream or downmixes from 6.1 to 7.1:
"Left Surround" -> Side Left
"Right Surround" -> Side Right
"Front Left of Center" -> Rear Left
"Front Right of Center" -> Rear Right
Hopefully this info will be of use to others.