Taking it into my hands to give a short reply here… I was among some others raising this issue as I’d love the Vero to pass on every audio format “as is”. The problem here is that - as I understood @sam_nazarko, correct me, if I’m not putting it right! - the board vendor AMLogic would have to add driver support for output of other channel formats than the ones used for PCM atm: stereo and 8-channel audio. So, yes, I’d agree that changing this to all possible channel layouts for PCM would solve the side vs. back surround issue, but it’s not easily done.
But it could help, if others post their concern, so this might become an issue big enough for the board vendor to change things.
To my knowledge and experience, other devices can’t output every PCM channel layout either (many Blu-ray players can play stereo and 5.1 surround audio files, but probably no 7.1 PCM from sources other than Blu-rays). The Vero 4k would probably be the first - which would make it even more awesome, if it could be implemented!
If the Vero outputs everything “as is” in the source format (easy for bitstream as it doesn’t touch the audio anyways, but more difficult for PCM as we learned), this is absolutely true.
The only true alteration of the audio channels - the stereo-downmixing option - isn’t specifically meant for users using an AVR with HDMI input as those can normally just let their AVR do the downmixing, if needed for a physical stereo setup. It’s meant and useful for those using S/PDIF who don’t want the signal to be transcoded and becoming lossy or those using the stereo analogue out, I guess.
So, yes, the Vero normally shouldn’t need to know what the speaker setup is - that’s what the AVR is for -, but it seems to me, that this isn’t really the issue here. Down-mixing to stereo should work, pass-through should work and PCM output (atm for stereo and 8-channel) should work. It should work without noises or other problems for everybody - which is the issue at hand here. If that’s all working, then there is no need to know the physical speaker setup (when connected to an AVR), you’re right. But isn’t that a given?
Earlier in this thread it was already discussed that the Vero can’t know whether a user is passing audio via S/PDIF or HDMI or analogue - so all settings have to be available all the time. That’s why, I guess, one can set the speaker layout even when using HDMI out connected to an AVR. But e.g. think of a TV with HDMI in. There are some TVs which can just handle 5.1 PCM. So, you have to be able to set the layout and used formats at all times…
Sorry, that this “short” reply has turned into a way too long monologue now!