Why ironic ?
If you want to listen to surround audio files on a home receiver using an external media player is the only simple solution, because home receivers do not natively support playing surround files, regardless their format : PCM, FLAC, MP3 surround… Nothing is supported.
A complex solution is to burn a DVD or Blu ray with multichannel PCM, Dolby or DTS format so that you can get back your audio. Or use a PC with a software player and an HDMI output that can drive a home receiver HDMI input. This last solution is not so easy because it can ask some time to find the right software and hardware to get it working in surround mode.
More HDMI is now mandatory on home receivers. No more analog multi-channel inputs. So if you want to listen for multichannel audio, even without video, HDMI is the only option.
It seems to me that the PlayStation 3 is the only product able to read MP3 surround and deliver that through HDMI (i did not test it nevertheless).
Finally Mp3 surround seems like a dead format that cannot be read by anything except the PS3 and a couple software players on the PC platform… (mostly like other surround formats, except those used for DVD, Blu Ray and Cinema broadcasting.
The situation regarding surround file support on hardware players seems actually disastrous. It’s a pity.