OpenAL and 5.1 surround


Im new to the whole aspect of audio in OpenGL apps.

The way things work for us here at the moment is: we start the app on the onyx, and at the same time we start the dvd-player with the audio for the presentation.

So far it’s been ok because the audio is usually just the voice of a narrator with some background music. But as you can see, this is not very interactive and we want to integrate the audio with the apps so as to make context-sensitive narration and music.

We have some wicked audio equipment (5.1 dolby surround) with sweet JBL speakers and a 1600W amp. Its such a waste beacause its not being used to its full potential.

Now, to the actual point of this note: technically speaking… if i create an OpenAL sound source with an attached buffer that has a mono sound, will OpenAL take advantage of the 6 channels, provided the Onyx has a 5.1 sound card (which it does)?

In other words, if the user ‘walks’ beside the sound source so that the source is now behind him and to the left, will the sound from that source come now mainly from the rear left speaker in the room?

I’m a little confused because i’ve read that OpenAL doesnt even support stereo (let alone 5.1), but i also know Quake Arena and Unreal use OpenAL and they do have 5.1 sound… Does the “stereo not supported” refer to the type of audio files that can be attached to a buffer?

Please help… again
And sorry about the long winding message.