What does the matrix Button do on a speaker?
The Matrix Button on modern audio speakers is used to enable the Matrix Mode. These mode up-mixes 2 channel audio signals to virtual surround sound effects. Surround sound systems are typically assigned a 5.1 designation. This means that there are 6 dedicated audio channels that confer a surround effect when playing music, games or watching a 5.1 surround sound encoded DVD movie. The 5 in the designation denotes 5 separate audio surround channels.
There are 3 front channels namely 2 left and right audio channels and a single dedicated center channel that handles mid-range frequencies which include vocals and dialogue. The 2 rear surround audio channels output sound via left and right rear speakers. The rear channels are used to complement the front channel sounds and mainly handle surround effects.
The .1 in the designation is the low frequency channel aptly handled by a solitary sub-woofer speaker. The front and rear surround sound speakers are predominantly dedicated to the reproduction of frequencies ranging from mid-range to high frequencies.
Modern audio sources may be presented in a mono, 2 channels (2D stereo) or in recent times, a 5.1 encoded digital surround sound format. When the matrix mode in the speakers is engaged by sliding the matrix button to on, the audio system mixes all the left-right stereo channels (2D) in an effort to simulate authentic surround sound in a virtual fashion.
If one is listening to music in a 2D mode and the Matrix button is disabled, the rear left and right surround speakers will not produce any audible output. In this regard, the listener should first confirm the encoding format of the audio source. In the event that the source is not 5.1 surround sounds encoded, the matrix mode should be enables to simulate a virtual surround sound effect thus enabling audio output from all surround speakers.
It is not advisable to engage the Matrix mode when listening to 5.1 encoded DVD audios, games or watching a DVD movie with 5.1 encoding as this will negate the surround sound effect.