I would like to second that. I am sure I read somewhere that Audition was track agnostic ie it could cope with multichannel files! Is this the case?
The Waveform Editor can open files that are up to 32 channels, and that you can set your hardware output mapping via the Audio Channel Mapping preferences pane (see screenshot). However, the Multitrack is limited to 5.1. Feel free to post your ideas of how various parts of the multitrack should work for cases that aren't Mono, Stereo, or 5.1.
Audition is channel agnostic in many cases - it can open and edit files with any channelization, including files far beyond 5.1 and 7.1. While our focus was on the most common setups (stereo and 5.1), most of our native effects are flexible with regard to channelization, at least up to 6 channels and sometimes beyond. While we don't really have explicit support for ambisonics (apart from a few Channel Mixer presets), it's certainly possible to edit and even use them in a multitrack (though, you'd need to place them on a 5.1 track to hear all channels). I can't speak to long term plans specifically, but it's been a goal from the beginning to support as wide a variety of input formats as feasably possible. If you've got any specific bugs or impediments that result from working with non-standard channelizations, it'd be great to hear about them.
The Multitrack MASTER output is limited to Mono, Stereo, and 5.1, however you can configure your multitrack session outputs to bypass the Master and orient to any configuration your audio device can support.
Thanks everyone for your informative answers. I am aware that I can set up a multitrack session to output tracks individually or in pairs to various audio outputs supported by my hardware, but what I am really after is the ability to take a mono track for instance and pan it around a 4, or 8-16 channel space/setup as I now can with stereo and 5.1. Common configurations of these greater number of speakers would be straight up quadrophonic, a ring of eight or double ring of eight. Where the speakers are either numbered clockwise from around 11 o'clock around (1 through 8) or numbered in stereo pairs starting from front running to the back. These are common speaker setups for multichannel electroacoustic composition. I think in the long run, the feature that would be the most handy would be the ability to create a speaker setup type in a preference pane, and then chose that setup from the list of potential outputs. The 5.1 panner in the multitrack view is a beautiful thing, and I would absolutely love it if that same interface were applied to a ring of eight setup say.
Anyways, I am VERY happy with Audition as it stands now, and this is not so much a complaint of a missing feature as it is a wishlist for a perfect world. Such a feature in Audition would make it an invaluable compositional tool for composers of electronic music / music for fixed-media.
I'm glad audition is working out for you, despite lacking some of the multichannel features you'd ultimately like. As I mentioned before, we tried our best to support n-channel workflows throughout the app - this is more the case in the editor than multitrack, where supporting things outside the 90% cases of mono/stereo/5.1 was simply too much for the current timeframe. Your final request, for the ability to build multiple speaker layouts and select them by name, is a great idea though - something we can look at for the future, for sure.
FYI - I recently helped a user create an Audition workflow for mixing an ambisonic project. Though it required one or two small workarounds, setting up a session for this purpose went smoothly and seemed to provide enough flexibility to be useful rather than a burden. While the output of Audition sessions is still limited to 6 channels (at least, it is if you want to avoid doing it with a series of mono or stereo buses - blech), it's very reasonable to mix an ambisonic project while auditioning on headphones or a 4 or 6 channel ring, and then mixdown to B-Format for a final conversion to your ultimate destination format. If that's something you're interested in, I could provide a bit more info and some template sessions.